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Tennessee Tech football coach Watson Brown and his staff had a rather small target to aim toward in signing recruits during this off-season, and the veteran coach feels like they’ve hit the bulls-eye, again.

“It was a much smaller number that we could sign this year, and a very position-oriented group,” Brown said. “It was a broad range, but it was just one or two guys at this position or that position, and we feel like we’ve signed an outstanding group, one that really fills our needs.

“This is a quality class,” he added.

With so many top quality signees in the past couple years who will be returning in 2013, Brown and his staff had only a handful of spots available when searching for the 2013 Golden Eagle recruits. He was highly pleased with the addition of the 17 young men who submitted their paperwork Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA’s national signing period.

“We needed a couple offensive and defensive linemen, we wanted to sign a couple linebackers,” Brown said. “We did not take many secondary guys, we didn’t look at receivers, but we wanted athletes, two-way guys where we can pick where they would be better off. We wanted another quarterback, a punter/kicker who will come in and compete.”

Brown said his staff was also looking for two-way athletes who can line up at tight end or defensive end, and the signing class includes a couple.

“We’re getting a couple of those kind of guys,” Brown said. “Guys who can play a lot of places.”

Overall, Brown feels the 2013 signing class will send the Golden Eagles into the future with solid personnel.

“I think so, and we’re not through yet,” he said. “The plan has gone well. We’ve filled the needs we have for the next few years with few scholarships.”

Included in the 17 signees are several local players who are familiar in the area for their success.

“I think this was our best year locally,” Brown said. “We had two from Livingston (Creed Hayes and Brock McCoin), one from Rockwood (Hayden Freels), one from Gordonsville (Tyler Coen). There were some really good players in the area this year, and we don’t want to let those get away. We work really hard to take care of the home base and we’ve signed some high profile kids in the area.”


Player Profiles

Josh Belhu – LB, 5-11, 230, Mt. Juliet, Tenn. / Mt. Juliet HS

In the past two seasons, Josh Belhu has played key roles on both side of the line of scrimmage for Mt. Juliet High School, helping the Golden Bears produce a combined 24-3 overall record and reach the TSSAA semifinals both seasons. As a senior team captain, playing in 12 games at linebacker, he managed 139 total tackles, with 64 solo stops and 65 assists. He also had seven tackles-for-loss, three sacks, six passes defended and 12 quarterback hurries. He was named all-district as an offensive guard during his junior season, and three times was selected the Wilson County Player of the Week.


Brady Bose – DL, 6-4, 285, Ashland City, Tenn. / Cheatham County HS

A two-way player at Cheatham County High School, Brady accepted team and district honors on both sides of scrimmage during his career with the Cubs. He helped the team post a 12-1 record and advance to the TSSAA playoffs after capturing the District 11-AA championship. On offense, he won the Best Receiver Award as a junior, and also captured Hardest Hitter and Offensive MVP honors while being voted team captain. His senior year netted seven catches for 122 yards and four touchdowns. Bose was named 11-AA Most Valuable Tight End as a junior and senior, and all-district as a defensive lineman as a senior. He was selected for the Tennessee East/West All-Star game and voted first-team all-state as a defensive end by the Tennessee Sportswriters Association. He made 33 total tackles as a senior with six tackles-for-loss and seven sacks.


Robert Hill Bronson – LB, 5-11, 205, Brooksville, Fla. / Hernando HS

A standout athlete at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Fla., Bronson was a two-time team Defensive MVP as a linebacker and finished second all-time in quarterback sacks for his team behind Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro Jerome Brown. As a senior, he had 90 total tackles with 10 quarterback sacks and 27.5 tackles-for-loss. He caused four and recovered three fumbles and also blocked a punt. His post-season awards included All-North Suncoast and All-Suncoast, as well as third-team Florida 6A All-State. In addition to football, he also lettered in wrestling, track, soccer and weight-lifting. He was third in the region in wrestling and a state qualifier in weight-lifting.


Trey Burks – RB, 5-9, 185, Tullahoma, Tenn. / Tullahoma HS

A 1,000-yard gainer during his senior year at Tullahoma High School, Burks was named the All-District 8AAA runningback for the Wildcats when he posted 11 touchdowns and 1,001 yards on 42 carries. He also caught 17 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns. On the defensive side, he had 30 total tackles and one interception. He was named to the Southern Middle Tennessee all-area team.


Michael Cain – DL, 5-9, 295, Nashville, Tenn. / Whites Creek HS

Twice named the Nashville Metro Lineman of the Year and ranked No. 4 in the nation by National Underclassman Combine, Cain was a two-time all-state selection while playing at Whites Creek High School. He put up sensational numbers for the Cobras, including 175 career tackles and 150 tackles-for-loss with 30 quarterback sacks. He was a three-time All-Metro selection.


Jordan Carroll – DE, 6-3, 245, Birmingham, Ala. / Briarwood Christian HS

An all-county selection and team captain, Carroll also earned a spot on the All-Over the Mountain honor squad at Briarwood Christian High School, helping the team to its 20th consecutive state playoff appearance. He posted 104 total tackles for the Lions, including 41 solo stops and 63 assisted tackles. He also had nine quarterback sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss.


Tyler Coen – OL, 6-3, 255, Gordonsville, Tenn. / Gordonsville HS

Voted as Tennessee Mr. Football Class A Lineman and the Upper Cumberland Defensive Player of the Year, Coen was also a first-team TSWA All-State pick as an offensive lineman. A team captain he was also named All-Region 4A for the Tigers, who finished 14-1 and captured the TSSAA Class 4A state title in Tucker Stadium. As a senior, he finished with 88 tackles, including 16 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks. For his four-year career, Coen posted 289 tackles, with 12 sacks and 37 tackles-for-loss.


Hayden Freels – TE/DE, 6-4, 215, Rockwood, Tenn. / Rockwood HS

A four-year letterman in both football and baseball along with two in basketball, Freels is a versatile athlete who can use his strength on either side of scrimmage. He was named All-State as well as Defensive Player of the Year while posting 68 total tackles, eight sacks, eight tackles-for-loss in the defensive line. As a tight end, he had 24 catches for 317 yards and two touchdowns for Rockwood High School.


Maleek Hall – ATH 5-11, 188, Clarksville, Tenn. / Kenwood HS

An elusive runner, Hall set school records as a senior at Kenwood High School for most rushing yards with 1,550 and most all-purpose yards with 2,150. A four-year starter and three-time all-region pick for the Knights, he was named the Offensive Player of the Year when he had 100 carries for 1,550 yards and caught 63 passes for 600 yards. He ranked first in the state for average yards per carry, gaining 9.0 per try. He ranked eighth in Tennessee for all-purpose yards.


Creed Hayes – ATH, 5-9, 180, Livingston, Tenn. / Livingston Academy

A four-time all-district selection and two-time District 7AA Running Back of the Year, Hayes also grabbed back-to-back Upper Cumberland Offensive Player of the Year awards and was named All-State as a senior for Livingston Academy. For his career, he piled up 4,248 rushing yards and 58 touchdowns, highlighted by 1886 yards and 26 scores as a senior for the Wildcats. He established a school rushing record of 1,517 yards as a junior before eclipsing that total in his senior season.


Jonathan King – K/P, 6-0, 160, Knoxville, Tenn. / Farragut HS

Named the National High School Player of the Year and an All-American by Ray Guy, King is a combination kicker from Farragut High School who averaged 46.9 yards per punt and made six of nine field goal tries as a senior. For his career, King was 27-for-43 on field goal tries and made 55-for-56 PATs. He was named the 2012 Tennessee Mr. Football Kicker of the Year.


Brock McCoin – QB, 6-2, 180, Livingston, Tenn. / Livingston Academy

Twice named the Upper Cumberland Playmaker of the Year, a four-time All-District 7AA selection and a TSWA All-State pick while directing the Livingston Academy offense, McCoin passed for more than 4,000 career yards and accounted for more than 6,000 yards of total offense as a Wildcat. As a senior, he completed 63 percent of his tosses for 1,536 yards and 17 touchdowns with only two interceptions, and also rushed 110 times for 820 yards and 14 scores. He finished with 4,022 career passing yards for 45 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and accounted for 60 touchdowns.


Charles Rutledge – OL, 6-5, 250, Decatur, Ga. / Columbia HS

A three-year starter on the offensive line and a four-year letterman at Columbia High School, Rutledge anchored the offensive line for the Eagles. He was selected to play in the Dekalb County All-Star game and earned All-Dekalb County honors. An outstanding athlete, he was also a member of the basketball team that has won two of the last three state championships.


Gage Terry – OL, 6-3, 294, Charlotte, Tenn. / Creek Wood HS

A four-year starter on both the football and baseball teams at Creek Wood High School, Terry was a three-time all-district selection in football and twice chosen as team captain. A lineman on both sides of scrimmage for the Red Hawks, he led the team to three playoff appearances in his four seasons. A two-time All-District 11AA pick, he is also a two-time MVP Lineman who graded out over 90 percent. He was chosen the 2-12 Tennessee Impact Player of the year, and picked to play in the Down Under Bowl.


Trey Thompson – LB, 6-1, 210, Cincinnati, Ohio / LaSalle HS

In four seasons, Thompson piled up over 200 career tackles as a starter at linebacker for LaSalle High School. A versatile athlete who lettered in football, baseball and basketball, he had 90 tackles in his senior season along with five quarterback sacks and one interception.


Jerquin Vines – CB, 5-10, 180, LaFayette, Ala. / LaFayette HS

A four-year starter at wide receiver and cornerback, Vines was a first-team All-State selection for LaFayette High School while also earning first-team all-area honors. A team captain, he was a two-way threat for the Bulldogs. On offense, he caught 43 passes for 911 yards and 16 touchdowns, and also had 20 carries for 245 yards and two scores. On defense, Vines had 54 total tackles, six interceptions, 10 passes defended and forced four fumbles. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and piled up 207 yards in return yards. He finished his senior season with 1,575 all-purpose yards and 20 touchdowns.


Dametris Watson – OLB/TE, 6-4, 235, Hendersonville, Tenn. / Beech HS

Valuable on both sides of scrimmage, Watson played outside linebacker and tight end for Beech High School as the Buccaneers rolled through a perfect 15-0 season on the way to winning the TSSAA Class 5A state championship in Tucker Stadium. Watson caught 28 passes for 537 yards and eight touchdowns, and on defense he made 68 total tackles with one quarterback sack, two interceptions and three recovered fumbles.


Release provided by Tennessee Tech Athletics

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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24