Metro Nashville football teams had banner seasons in 2016. The Cane Ridge Ravens and the Stratford Spartans both finished the regular season with undefeated records. The Ravens fell to Class 5A 2015 champion Independence in a third round thriller. The Spartans also fell to a 2015 champion in Class 3A the CPA Lions in the second round. The Pearl-Cohn Firebirds, runner-ups in 2015, made it all the way to the semi-finals before falling on the road to the eventual 4A champion Memphis East.
The Spartans ended up with the most signees with eight. Head coach Maurice Fitzgerald bested his previous year of seven signees giving him 15 in two years at Stratford. Four of the signees; T.J. Carter, Zyshaun Simmons, Thomas Tate and Devion Waller were all in their first year with Stratford. Defensive back Bradley Jones (preferred walk-on) will join Carter at the University of Memphis.
“I am excited to get going because I will get to play right away,” said Carter. “Having Bradley come with me is great. He is a great player and will shock people. He will have a scholarship next year I promise.”
Stratford’s highly touted quarterback Josh Trueheart and Waller will be teammates along with Antwon Malone of Pearl-Cohn at Tennessee State University. Simmons will be joining 2016 Stratford signee TreVaughn Hatcher at the University of North Dakota College of Science. Bethel (TN.) University grabbed five Metro players in; Christian Lancaster of Cane Ridge, DeArius Marlow of Hillsboro, Pearl-Cohn’s Shawn Elam and Tyquez Seward and Tate.
The Southeastern Conference will be well represented this season by Metro players. The highly recruited Jacob Phillips de-committed from the University of Oklahoma to sign at LSU. Wide receiver JaVonta Payton of Hillsboro, son of Tennessee Tribune Metro Sports writer McKinley Young Jr., chose Ole Miss over some top schools in the nation. Theo Jackson of Overton will play at the University of Tennessee. Two Pearl-Cohn players will be playing at Vanderbilt. Brayden Devault-Smith and a surprise transfer from the University of Illinois former two time Tennessee Tribune Metro Player of the Year Ke’Shawn Vaughn.
“Having two of our guys to go to Vandy really helps our program,” said Pearl-Cohn head coach Tony Brunetti. “Brayden had a great year and will make some noise in the SEC. Ke’Shawn will have to sit out this year but will be ready when he is eligible. He can’t wait to run behind that huge offensive line that they have there.
2017 Metro Football Signees
Name School College/University
LuCuba Higging Jr. Antioch Olivet Nazarene Univ.
Noah Scales Antioch College of Redwoods
Christian Lancaster Cane Ridge Bethel
D.J. Thorpe Cane Ridge Western Carolina
Dondre Ezell East Nashville Tennessee Tech
Jacob Phillips East Nashville LSU
Demarquez Trotter East Nashville Indiana State
Jon Betts Hillsboro Georgetown College (KY)
Damon Hodge Hillsboro Maryville
Ben Hutch Hillsboro Cincinnati
Mathew Jackson Hillsboro Eastern Kentucky
DeArius Marlow Hillsboro Bethel
JaVonta Payton Hillsboro Ole Miss
John Ford Overton UT-Martin
Theo Jackson Overton Tennessee
Yusef Ali Maplewood MTSU
Deshawn Johnson Maplewood Independence C.C.
Marco Johnson Maplewood MTSU
Brayden Devault-Smith Pearl-Cohn Vanderbilt
Shawn Elam Pearl-Cohn Bethel
Antowon Malone Pearl-Cohn Tennessee State
Tyquez Seward Pearl-Cohn Bethel
Demarcus Stevenson Pearl-Cohn Iowa Western
Ke’Shawn Vaughn Pearl-Cohn (Illinois transfer) Vanderbilt
Terrell Carter Jr. Stratford Memphis
William Cruz Stratford Maryville
Winston Hooton Stratford Univ. of the Cumberlands
Bradley Jones Stratford Memphis
Zyshaun Simmons Stratford N. Dakota St. Coll of Science
Thomas Tate Stratford Bethel
Josh Trueheart Stratford Tennessee State
Devion Waller Stratford Tennessee State