Following one of the most historic seasons in Tullahoma history, three Wildcats will continue their football careers together as they officially signed their letters of intent to play at Mount Marty University in South Dakota.
Tyreek Nard, Jaylin Newson and Adam Owens all committed to be Lancers before Super Bowl 55 got underway this past Sunday. With those three players officially signed, Tullahoma now has four players who play at the collegiate level after Jakobe Thomas signed his letter of intent to play at MTSU in December.
“It was an honor to be around these three for the last few years,” said Jared Olive, THS Assistant Coach. “Part of Tullahoma football is family and every one of these kids is family to us. These guys define what we are about, which is G.R.I.T. – greatness, relentless, intensity and toughness. These guys are committed and they gave themselves this opportunity. They are great teammates and our team had an awesome season and these guys were a major part of that.”
During the 2020 season, Tullahoma put together a 10-0 undefeated regular season, before wrapping up the year with a 12-1 campaign. The Wildcats saw their season end with a 15-14 loss to Nolensville in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
All three newly committed players played on the defensive side of the ball for Tullahoma. This past year, the Wildcats held teams to 80 rushing yards per game and 10.4 points per contest.
While this year’s legacy for Tullahoma is cemented in stone, Nard, Newson and Owen will get to start a new chapter this fall – one that will take place over 900-plus miles away from their original home. On top of committing to Mount Marty, the three Wildcats have also committed to help the Lancers develop their new program.
In 2019, Mount Marty University announced that it would be adding football to its athletic program. The Lancers are slated to play their first-ever game on Sept. 4 when they host Dakota Wesleyan.
One of the first steps for the Mount Marty coaching staff was to seek out players who were tough, physical and have a love for the game of football. However, for Mount Marty Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator John Michaletti, he said he was looking for players who are adaptable and can truly be team players.
While looking at film, the Lancer's coach said he found exactly that when he watched the three Wildcat players.
“To be able to see the other kids be excited for Tyreek when he got a sack, you’d see them get in there and celebrate with them, you know they have that love for each other,” Michaletti said. “They are competitive, but they support each other. For them to do that, and because we are starting a program from scratch, you’ve got to have those guys who buy in to each other.
“To have three kids who want to stick together and play together and want to continue to develop those relationships is pretty rare and pretty special.”
According to Michaletti, he expects all three Tullahoma recruits to come in to Yankton, South Dakota, and immediately make an impact.
“I love the d-lineman,” Michaletti said. “My philosophy is that you have to stop the run to win the game. To have those guys up front in Tyreek and Jaylin is great. In the back end, you have Adam who has plenty of ball skills, but he’s also a physical tackler and that’s one thing that you have to have back there. All three of them have the chance to come in and compete right away.”
More information about the Mount Marty University football team can be found here.