By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Munford’s 2018 National Signing Day had impact outside of Tennessee reaching Alabama and Arkansas.
While a trio of Cougars will remain in the Volunteer State heading to Cumberland University located in Lebanon, Munford seniors Will Hankins and Cole Edrington inked letters of intent to play football at University of South Alabama and Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Respectively.
Hankins and Edrington joined teammates, Cumberland signees, Chaz Hayes, Marcus Webb and Kylan Washington for National Signing Day.
Munford Head Coach Nick Markel was proud to see a quintet of his senior class get a huge payoff from an 9-3 season and second-place finish in Region 8-5A.
“As a team we really worked hard,” he said. “This senior class was something I’d been really excited for since I got here at Munford. We have about 60 people in the Library right now just to watch these five guys sign.
“It speaks on their impact in the school and how much support they’ve had,” Markel added. “I’m really proud of these young men. I’m really happy for them and excited for them. This is a great opportunity for them to represent our program very well, represent themselves very well and it’s something we talk about. Hard work does pay off.”
Edrington, defensive back, was joined by his parents Stuart and Jennifer for his signing with the Tigers. Edrington lined up in various spots on the field in the secondary becoming vital to the defensive schemes.
Now he moves onto Ouachita Baptist, a NCAA Division II program of the Great American Conference. The Tigers are led by Todd Knight. Knight is the longest standing college head football coach in Arkansas.
Knight has guided the Tiger program through the infant stages of NCAA Division II, from the Lone Star Conference, the Gulf South Conference and now the Great American Conference. The Tigers were conference champs this past season.
The South Alabama Jaguars of the Sun Belt Conference will welcome Hankins to Mobile.
Hanks is an athletic, speedster with a frame ready to build muscle. He had big play capabilities on both sides of the ball for Munford in the secondary and receiving corps.
Hankins was joined by his family including parents Sheretta and William for his signing. The Hankins will trust their son with Jaguars Head Coach Steve Campbell.
Campbell recently took over at USA after a four-year stint at Central Arkansas, where he guided the Bears to 33-15 mark including a record of 24-3 in the Southland Conference the last three seasons.
Cumberland University just went through a coaching change with Tim Mathis. He became the sixth head coach since Cumberland restarted the program in 1990.
The Cumberland Phoenix of NAIA Mid-South Conference will add the Tipton trio of Hayes, Webb and Washington.
Each Cougar was named to an All-Star team recently with Webb making the All-State team at defensive end. Hayes and Washington were big time runners in the Cougar offense in 2017. And Washington was featured in the Munford secondary as a lockdown defender.
Washington celebrated the day with his mother Kenya Reed. Webb was joined by his mother Tanya. And Hayes welcomed parents Charnina and Charles Sr. for his signing. The Hayes family was also represented by Chaz’s sister Bianca, grandfather Charles A. Hayes and uncle/coach Johnny Washington.
In their Words:
Head Coach Nick Markel
You watching your guys grow. You’re sending them off into the real world. A lot of hard work goes into preparing them for what’s to come. It takes a village from Dr. Fee to Mr. Huffman to our Booster Club president. It’s our teachers and the community helping them to try to achieve some of their dreams. These five young men are getting the chance to come out and make something of themselves, get a great education in the process and play the sport we all love.
How does it feel to be here today?
-We told ourselves as freshmen we weren’t going to go out like the seniors did when we were freshmen.
Did you ever see your height or size as a setback?
-A lot of the hard work I did in the weight room with my teammates. My coaches made me put in a lot of hard work during the summer.
I felt like it was to my advantage. Usually somebody out there sees somebody little out there on the football field. They just can go on ahead and hit them. That’s when I would make my move.
With a few schools after you — why Cumberland?
-Cumberland is just the best fit for me. I’m going to go there and get my grades right. Then I might see what is out there for me in about two years. I’m just ready to play with my friends again.
You were selected to the All-State team, how does it feel to have that honor?
-I don’t know man. There’s a lot of folks in Tennessee and I was one of them. It was very humbling.
Yeah, they know. I beat my opponent – beat the tackle. I’m going to play linebacker next year.
How does it feel that your hard work has paid off with Cumberland?
-It’s a blessing and now I have my opportunity. I just want to thank my coaches, family and friends or I wouldn’t be here without my teammates.
Was it pressure being Coach Markel’s go-to guy on offense and defense?
-It could have been a lot of pressure but it wasn’t because I knew my teammates needed me. I just stepped up when they needed me whether offense or defense.
Just being versatile and being able to work at different positions.
Why the University of South Alabama?
It feels good because at first I really didn’t have anything. My first two years I didn’t really play. I left my junior year and came back working hard.
Ninth and 10th grade years I really didn’t have any film so I transferred to a different school. Then my senior year I finally came back to play with them. So I overcame a lot through the process.
How do you feel sharing this moment with them?
-It felt good because Chaz, Marcus, Cole and Kylan, I’ve been playing with them my entire life. So it felt real good to win with them.
Where is Ouachita Baptist?
-It’s on other side of Little Rock in Arkadelphia. They won their conference last year.
We never knew where No. 5 would line up…
-I think it helped us a lot. The coaches could put me wherever they needed to. I understood the whole scheme of the defense so I could play anywhere.
What else help get you to the college football level?
Morning workouts and hitting the gym with his teammates.
We all knew we didn’t want to be done after high school. It felt great putting Munford Football back on the map. We wanted to come through and change the culture when we started playing our sophomore year. We knew once we started playing our sophomore and junior years we didn’t want to go out like teams in the past.
I think we set the standard high and we set an example for everybody underneath us. Coming out of Munford, a little rural school, you can still go play.