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Colleges noticing local football talent

June 9th, 2014 7:05 pm by Douglas Fritz

Colleges noticing local football talent

Could 2014 be a banner year for high school football in Northeast Tennessee?

If the college recruiting trail is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes.

Science Hill has already racked up nine Football Championship Subdivision offers — seven for lineman Malcolm White and two for quarterback-receiver Malik McGue — while Elizabethton running back Ethan Thomas and Sullivan South’s Dylan Wieger (QB) and Jake Strickler (LB) also have offers in hand.

For Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter, it’s a bonanza he’s never seen before.

“It’s pretty impressive this early,” said Carter. “Other than Curt Phillips, I’ve never had anybody get offered before the spring. It’s a pretty good thing.”

White has full offers from ETSU, Tennessee State, VMI, Chattanooga, Austin Peay, Campbell and North Carolina Central. But the 6-foot-6, 280-pound senior beast may wind up playing above the FCS level as Virginia Tech has started to show serious interest.

“Virginia Tech really wanted a look at him,” said Carter. “They requested for him to come to their early camp. They are intrigued with his size and ability.

“Georgia Tech has also shown interest, but I don’t have a feeling they will offer. We will find out this week how much Virginia Tech wants him.”

McGue has gotten full offers from ETSU and Tennessee State, and Furman is sniffing around. The 5-6, 160-pound senior will see plenty of snaps at quarterback for the Hilltoppers this fall, but has caught college coaches’ eyes as a slot receiver, punt returner, or defensive back.

“Malik had a good showing at MTSU, so he could still get a Division I offer,” said Carter.

Other Science Hill players getting FCS looks are receiver-defensive back Mikey White (ETSU and UVA-Wise), defensive back Trey Sutton and center Dylan Miles.

“I think Mikey will be FCS, and Trey could get something as a defensive player,” said Carter. “ETSU likes Dylan as a center, but his size puts him more in the long-shot category.”

As for Thomas, he has received offers from ETSU and Furman. The 6-1, 215-pound senior will likely have more colleges calling with deals in the coming months, and still has a shot at the Division I level.

Wieger has offers from ETSU and Austin Peay. The 6-2, 210-pound senior is also getting Division I interest from MTSU.

Austin Peay also has made an offer to Strickler, a 6-1, 185-pound senior.

Overall, Carter said the interest generated by these players helps the rest of the football athletes in the area.

“Once you get some, you usually end up getting more,” he said. 

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The TSSAA Board of Control will begin its meetings tonight in Murfreesboro, and football reclassification is once again a hot topic.

Matthew Gillespie, TSSAA assistant executive director, said he doesn’t know whether there is push toward a return to the five-classification setup as opposed to the current six-class playoff system.

“In regards to movement, we will see after this meeting,” said Gillespie. “That’s why it’s on the agenda. This is the next step in the process.

“It could be approved, tabled, or voted down at this meeting. It’s really up to the board.”

If the change is approved, it would not go into effect at the earliest until the 2015 football season.

Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter maintained his support for changing back to five classes.

“I think five would be good for our conference,” said Carter. “I don’t know which way they will go with it, but for us five is a lot better.”

The Board of Control meeting will end either Wednesday or Thursday. Also on the agenda is a recommendation to disallow two-a-day football practices in pads on consecutive days.

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Prep signing: Tennessee High’s Zak Kitzmiller has made his college choice official. The Vikings’ standout signed last week to play baseball at King University.

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