Bethel University, an NAIA program in McKenzie, Tenn., will sign four football players from the Sequatchie Valley today.
South Pittsburg all-state running back Raquis Hale and all-region tight end/long snapper Josh Wilson will sign with the Wildcats, as will North Jackson all-state receiver Montel Hale and all-state center Dustin White.
South Pittsburg's Hale set a program record with 2,454 rushing yards this season, including 1,076 in four playoff games, averaging 13 yards per carry. He was named offensive MVP after running for 228 and five touchdowns in the Pirates' Class 1A state championship victory.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Wilson was a two-year starter who had three touchdown catches last season and made 78 total tackles, four tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
"That's a pretty good distance from home for a couple of kids from a small town, so I think going together will help both of them adjust to the next level," Pirates coach Vic Grider said. "I think they're getting a steal in Raquis. He has all the tools to be a special back. And Josh will be as steady as any player they've got. He's a very intelligent player who shows up for work every day and will always contribute."
North Jackson's Hale is a two-time Alabama all-state selection and holds school career records for catches, receiving yards, touchdowns and points. This season he had 1,591 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns, while White started 39 straight games, anchoring a line that helped the Chiefs average 46 points per game.
"They're both three-year starters for us, so they've played a lot of football and I expect them to play a lot more at the next level," Chiefs coach Shawn Peek said. "They're good students, the kind of kids you can depend on on the field and off."
Owls' Richey to TWC
Ooltewah's Wesley Richey has signed a basketball scholarship with Tennessee Wesleyan. The 6-foot-3 Richey was the District 5-AAA MVP and an all-region selection and averaged 20.7 points, 11.3 rebounds per game and has more than 1,100 career points.
"They're looking for him to make an immediate impact, and I think that's exactly what he'll do," Owls coach Jesse Nayadley said. "They're getting a player with a whole lot of upside. He liked the idea of playing closer to home, and he likes their style and the speed they play the game.
"I think it's a great fit. He can score from the outside but is strong enough to take it inside, too."
Keta to Young Harris
Marion County two-time all-state wing Keta Robinette will sign a basketball scholarship with Young Harris (Ga.) College.
Robinette is the Jasper school's career scoring leader with 2,210 points and averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 4.2 steals this season to help the Lady Warriors repeat as District 6-A champions and earn their first Region 3 title. She was named district and region player of the year each of the last two seasons.
"My original thought was that I would go somewhere just for academics and begin working toward my major," said Robinette, who plans to study veterinary medicine. "But then I went on a campus visit with my mom and we spent time with some of the girls, and once I realized Young Harris has all the classes I'll need for my pre-vet program, I knew that's where I needed to go.
"They play at a faster pace, but I feel like I'll fit in fine. Honestly, it felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders when they offered me."
Bucs' Jordan to sign
Boyd-Buchanan offensive lineman Vinny Jordan (6-4, 320) will sign with Carson-Newman on Monday. Jordan was a three-year offensive starter for the Buccaneers, grading out as an 85 percent blocker last season and also played on their short-yardage defensive line.
"It's a good fit for him," Bucs coach Grant Reynolds said. "He's a hard worker and always gives great effort, and with his size and ability, that's what it takes to succeed at the next level."
Central slate revised
The Central Invitational baseball schedule this weekend was revised after two Ohio teams dropped out, one early and one just last Monday. Pressed to find replacement teams so late, Central coach Glen Carter decided to play his junior varsity in one of the pools.
"They're pumped about it," he said. "It's good that they're playing. All my guys need to play. We haven't played since Tuesday."
Area teams that are helping the Pounders out by playing at least one game in the tournament include Bradley Central, South Pittsburg and Signal Mountain.
Carter, who has been burned in back-to-back years by at least one team backing out late, said he likely is going to go to contracts for the tournament.
"It's either that or get them to send a nonrefundable check when they decide to play," he said.
The championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Central.
Catcher Allen signing
South Pittsburg catcher Meghan Allen will sign a softball scholarship with Cleveland State today. A five-year starter, she is currently hitting .455. Last season she had an on-base percentage of .506 with eight multihit games.
"I just really liked the coaches and players that I met," Allen said. "I wanted to have early playing time, and their starting catcher is a sophomore, so I can go in and compete for the job right away. Mainly, it just felt right."
Assistant sports editor Ward Gossett contributed to this story.