Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Boyd-Buchanan's Colbe Haddox (9) plays defense. Boyd-Buchanan hosted a four way scrimmage between them, Brainerd, Bledsoe County and Sale Creek on August 6, 2021.

Colbe Haddox's infectious personality shined through Wednesday as Boyd Buchanan's 6-foot-3, 280-pound senior football standout grabbed the microphone and excitedly asked the crowd inside Jett Gymnasium, "How y'all doing?"

Moments later Haddox enjoyed a life changing moment by signing his national letter of intent to Murray State University. Emotions were high as several family members shed tears of happiness.

"I want to thank God for putting me in this position to pursue my dream and play college football," Haddox said. "One day I hope to go to the NFL. I am just so excited and blessed. Being here at Boyd Buchanan helped me become the best Colbe I could be. I want to thank everyone who helped me get to this moment and go Racers!"

The grind to becoming a sought after prospect by FCS programs was not easy. While college coaches marveled over Haddox's explosiveness from the defensive tackle position — which often sent him crashing into opposing ball carriers before they could take a handoff — what many did not see was his off the field journey.

Sitting out his sophomore season after transferring from Lookout Valley, he focused on excelling in the weight room. Despite struggling to finish reps at the start, his tireless work helped him become the strongest lifter in the Buccaneers program. This year he set personal bests of 355 on the bench press while squatting 455 pounds and deadlifting 500.

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Chattanooga-area college football signees

"To see his dreams come true is special," Boyd Buchanan third-year head coach Jeremy Bosken said. "He would leave right after practice/weightlifting to go work at Krystal. Talk about a work ethic in a young man. It was not a paved road or easy journey for him by any means. But what drove him was his want to to make his family proud. That was always number one on his mind."

In 10 games this season the Division II-AA preseason all-state lineman recorded 65 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one sack and a blocked field goal. He also shined as a goal line back with three rushing touchdowns.

Haddox spent time on national signing day helping the Murray State football program's efforts to aid those affected by the recent tornados in Western Kentucky. The Racers' first official signee for the '22 recruiting class encouraged people over social media to donate to Eight Days of Hope — a nonprofit organization that helps serve those in need.

"Murray State is getting a great person who can light up a room and do a lot of great things on the football field," Bosken said. "This young man is just scratching the surface and is going to do amazing things in life."


Trion makes signing day history

Trion, one of the smallest football-playing schools in Georgia, had four players sign national letters of intent Wednesday, a first for the program. Headlining the list was running back Rob Brown, who signed with Kennesaw State after leading the state in rushing with 2,621 yards while scoring 42 total touchdowns.

"Rob is an incredible kid," Trion head coach Sean Patrick said. "He's a great football player, but he's a better kid. That coaching staff at Kennesaw does a phenomenal job at the FCS level and is a top-10 program. They care about the kids and they develop them as people as much as they do players. It's a great fit for Rob and it's a place he can go in and thrive."

Two of the players who helped pave the way for Brown's big season also signed. Offensive tackle Kaleb Park (6-3, 260) signed with Cumberland University, while tight end Cole Cavin (6-5, 235) signed with North Alabama. Linebacker Brantley Willbanks, who had 73 tackles, 13 for loss and six sacks, will join teammate Park at Cumberland.

"It's a great day for our kids and for our program," Patrick said. "I'm not from here and I reached out to some people who've been here a long time and it's the first time we've had four kids sign in one period. It's the culmination of hard work and I'm so proud of them. We were very fortunate to have a really good year and they are fortunate to be able to move on to play college football. None of that happens if they hadn't bought in two years ago when I was hired."


Red Bank star signs with ETSU

East Tennessee State University added a big piece to its recruiting class when 3-star Red Bank athlete Reco Trimble announced his signing Wednesday.

The 6-foot, 175-pound star for the Lions forced 10 turnovers (seven interceptions) in his career. This season he also had 49 catches for 667 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. Trimble is rated the state's No. 31 prospect by and had five SEC offers.


Multiple signees at area programs

Four programs had two signees each, combining for eight of the nine total signees from area Tennessee teams. Boyd Buchanan's Karson Gay, rated the state's No. 2 tight end prospect, joined teammate Haddox in signing on Wednesday. The 6-foot-6, 224-pound Gay followed through on his longtime commitment by signing with Virginia.

Baylor linebacker Trey McDonald (6-4, 215), who had 82 solo tackles, 17 more for loss and five sacks, also signed with Virginia, while Red Raiders teammate Bridger Knee (6-2, 240) signed with Army. Cleveland 3-star prospect Destun Thomas (6-2, 195), who had 1,028 receiving yards, signed with Memphis and Blue Raiders offensive lineman Nick Nicodemus (6-6, 290) is headed to Tennessee Tech.

Two of McCallie's standout transfers — receiver/defensive back Kenzy Paul and defensive lineman Thomas Pilon — returned home to Canada to be with family for their signing day ceremonies. Paul (6-1, 195), a 3-star prospect who had an interception and TD catch in the Division II-AAA BlueCross Bowl, signed with Duke and Pilon (6-3, 265) who had 13 tackles for loss this season, signed with Furman.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.