Friday afternoon was a big one for Cleveland High School as the Blue Raider family celebrated the decisions of five college-bound student athletes.
After their best season in years, four Raiders’ football players, Tyler Davis, Austin Herink, DJ Jones and Tre’Var Moore will be in the mix with various college teams.
Cleveland’s track and field program was also represented at the college signing extravaganza by Monica Allison, who signed with Lee University.
Allison’s signing marks the second NCAA signing of the year for head coach Casey Price.
“We were talking about what Monica wanted to do for college, and she said that she was pretty set on going to Cleveland State for nursing. Then when this happened it just kind of started snowballing and became a done deal with Lee,” Price explained.
The opportunity to run track for Lee was a surprising one for Allison.
“feels great. I didn’t expect to ever be here. I am definitely blessed and am so thankful. I’m amazed at the opportunity,” Allison stated. “This all came to be in the past few weeks actually. Coach Morgan called me and invited me to come hang out with the girls team. I got to spend a whole weekend with them and really enjoyed it.”
Currently Allison competes in the 100 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles and girls 4x400 meter relay.
When she makes the transition to the collegiate level, she will most likely run the 400 meter hurdles.
“I’m probably going to run 400 hurdles for Lee. It will be a step up, but I’m going to give it a try. I started running in sixth grade and got started with hurdles and worked my way up from there,” Allison explained.
Coach Price feels that the change in events should not pose a problem for the young hurdler.
“She’s been running in the 400 meter relay, so I don’t think it will be that difficult for her to transition to 400 hurdles,” Price stated.
Davis signs with Army
Tyler Davis recently found out that he had been accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point, and on Friday he made things official with Army’s football program.
“I leave July 1st, and will actually go through a month and a half of basic training before I get to do a lot of football stuff,” Davis explained. “When I first get there though, I will get to go do the 40, the pro agility and the three cone drill, which I’m excited about.”
The standout wide receiver ended the season with a total of 1175 yards and 13 touchdowns in 51 receptions.
“My goal is to start up there, hopefully kick returner. It will be hard, but I think it can be done,” Davis stated.
Davis is the fourth football player that coach Ron Crawford has seen go on to play for the military academy.
“It’s a really special deal for Tyler. In my last 12 years as a head coach I’ve had four that were able to get in there. It’s a rarity and I’m fortunate to a have had four. I certainly could not be more proud,” Crawford proclaimed. “His ability level is just going to get better and better and his best football is still ahead of him.”
With graduation right around the corner, Davis is preparing to make the transition from Blue Raider to Black Knight.
“Since graduation is a few days a way, it’s really setting in that in a few days I won’t be a part of the Blue Raiders anymore. It feels kind of weird, but also feels good knowing that I’m going on to be a part of something else,” Davis commented.
Herink switches to MTSU
The recruiting process proved to be a long one for quarterback Austin Herink, who had finally decided to head to the University of Memphis.
“I’m glad the recruiting process is over. I’m going to miss high school, but you have to move on and get ready for the next four years,” Herink commented. “As a team we had a great season this year. We won 10 games, which was the most we had won in a while.”
In his senior season, Herink completed 234 of his 358 attempted passes, and threw 32 touchdowns in a total of 3315 yards.
Herink threw the crowd gathered in the Cleveland High library a curveball on Friday, as he announced that he would be going to Middle Tennessee State University as a preferred walk on player.
The decision to switch became a reality the night before, as the QB was not at peace with his original choice.
“I thought I was going to go to Memphis and it was one of those things where I kept praying about it and thinking about it and wasn’t sure that it was the right fit,” Herink explained. “MTSU stopped by and I talked to them and it seemed like the right thing. Its where I want to be at and should be an easier transition.”
According to Coach Crawford, the known factor were most likely what it came down to for the quarterback.
“I think he looked at it from what has the most known factors in it, and Middle Tennessee ended up being that place. He can pick up the offensive quickly and they have fewer quarterbacks in camp,” Crawford commented. “In the long run it came down to where would you go to school if you weren’t playing football, and I think that outweighed the football situation.”
Herink knows that he plans to major in business and minor in political science at MTSU, but football is more of a wait and see for him.
“The speed of the game is going to be quicker, but we played in a really good region so I played against some good competition. I’ve just got to get there and get used to it,” Herink commented “I’m going to go up there and see what happens. I’m not sure if I will redshirt or what.”
Moore heads to North Carolina Wesleyan
A defensive leader throughout the 2013 season, Tre’Var Moore will have the opportunity to continue on his football career after signing with North Carolina Wesleyan College.
“They called and said they were interested in me, and when I went up there I felt at home and thought it was a great opportunity,” Moore described. “The coach felt like I would be a great fit, and I think I will be a great fit too. I just want to be able to get up there and help out the team.”
This year, Moore recorded 28 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and one take away.
“Tre is one of those guys that it’s hard for me to talk about without getting emotional from the standpoint of what he means to this program. If we had a guy that I wanted everyone to emulate it would be him – he works hard, was a great teammate and gets the absolute most out of his abilities,” Crawford declared.
According to Moore, there are two possible positions that he could be utilized in by the Battling Bishops.
“They probably want me at defensive tackle, or they might thin me out a little and put me at linebacker,” Moore said.
Although his time as a Blue Raider has come to a close, Moore will always remember playing at Benny Monroe Stadium.
“My favorite moment is probably my whole senior year, just being able to step out on the field under those Friday night lights,” Moore commented.
Jones off to Georgia Military College
Cleveland football’s jack of all trades, DJ Jones, will head south to Milledgeville, GA to play for the Georgia Military College.
“Two months ago they contacted my dad and talked to him about having me come down there. Tusculum and a few other colleges were interested, but I decided to go to Georgia Military,” Jones explained.
In his senior season at Cleveland, Jones had 68 receptions for a total of 956 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for 65 yards and four touchdowns in 16 attempts.
“This gives DJ an opportunity to get re-recruited if he takes care of his business,” Crawford stated. “He’s an extremely athletic player and did so many things for us at running back, wide receiver, cornerback, nickelback, punt return, and kickoff return. He was invaluable to us and this is a great opportunity for his to further his education and play some ball and perhaps get on a bigger stage.”
For Jones, the best moment as a Blue Raider was the senior night game.
“My favorite memory was our senior night game against Ooltewah when we beat them by one point.”
Jones has no plans of enlisting in the military, and is using the opportunity to play for the GMC Bulldogs as a way of getting into a larger school.
“I’m going to play football and then trying to go on to a bigger college,” Jones commented. “They want me somewhere on offense, I just don’t know where yet. I’m going to play my hardest no matter what position I end up at.”