Rathbone signs with BuccaneersThird local football standout inks to play at East Tennessee State
When the East Tennessee State University football program returns to the gridiron for the first time since 2003, it now will have three Haywood County players on its roster.
Tuscola’s Paul Leverett and Pisgah’s Hunter Wike signed with the Buccaneers in February and after months of contemplation, sifting through a handfull of offers, Tuscola lineman Brent Rathbone decided he was going to continue his college football career with head coach Carl Torbush at East Tennessee State.
“I wanted to take my time and make the right decision for me and my family,” said Rathbone. “But I kept going back to East Tennessee State. I loved it there. The coaches are so different, so down to earth, and I love the idea of being the first class to resurrect football after a long absence.
“I have so many to thank for this opportunity. God, my parents, my family, my teammates and all my coaches, especially Coach (Brandon) Allen, who has helped me so much through my high school career so I would get this chance to continue to live my dream.”
Rathbone, a 2013 all-WNCAC offensive lineman became the third senior from Allen’s 8-4 Tuscola team to sign to play college football. Several weeks ago, placekicker Logan Lambert committed to Western Carolina University.
“What another great honor for our program,” said Allen. “Since I’ve been here, that has been Brent’s dream, to play college football. But he has worked so hard to put himself in this position. He has paid his dues in the weight room, in practice and the classroom. I am as well as every one in the Tuscola football program are so excited for him. And I do know Coach Torbush and East Tennessee State are excited he is coming to be a Buccaneer.”
The resurrected Buccaneers’ football program will also give their players an extra year before ETSU goes to a full varsity schedule in 2015 and becomes a full Southern Conference member a year later.
In the fall of 2014, the Buccaneers will play a schedule of junior varsity teams.