The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Football program is one of national recognition. When people think of college football at the NAIA level and speak about Cumberlands, people know who you are talking about. They know that UC is one program year in and year out that is going to compete for a spot in the NAIA National Championship tournament and have that chance of making a run for a NAIA National Title.
This year, the Patriots are coming off of a season in which some would say is disappointing, but still very successful at 7-3 and 4-3 in the Mid-South Conference (MSC), arguably the toughest football conference in the country. The Patriots did graduate 13 seniors this season, but have already started on reloading for the 2012 season and have done a remarkable job thus far. Thirty-one new commits have inked with the Patriots thus far and the class looks as promising as ever.
Twelve athletes from Georgia, twelve from Tennessee, six signees from Kentucky, and one from Ohio round out the 31 newly signed Patriots that will compete on the gridiron next year in Williamsburg.
Head Coach John Bland commented, "We feel really good about our 2012 signee class thus far. We are ahead of where we have been in the past, but are still recruiting extremely hard. Prospects are comparing academics, football programs and facilities, location, and financial aid packages right now. We hope to add to what we feel is already a very strong recruiting class for next season. "
A list of the newly signed Patriots follows:
Blake Forrester – Johnson High School (Flowery Branch, GA)
Brent Copeland – Bremen High School (Bremen, GA)
Brian Stills – Fayette County High School (Fayetteville, GA)
Christopher Sharpe – Vidalia High School (Vidalia, GA)
David Kilgore – Central Carrollton High School (Carrollton, GA)
Jonathan Morrell – Perry High School (Perry, GA)
Julian Norman – Fayette County High School (Fayetteville, GA)
Keith DeVeaux – Atlanta Sports Academy (Atlanta, GA)
Lee Smith – Dawson County High School (Dawsonville, GA)
Randolph Cook – Valdosta High School (Valdosta, GA)
Rico Lyons – Mary Persons High School (Forsyth, GA)
Rico Ogletree – Mary Persons High School (Forsyth, GA)
Curtis Spears – Pulaski County High School (Science Hill, KY)
Ethan Lake – Madison Southern High School (Berea, KY)
John Hiles – Bryan Station High School (Lexington, KY)
Tyler Jackson – Pulaski County High School (Somerset, KY)
John Brewer – Leslie County High School (Hyden, KY)
Daryl McCain – Montgomery County High School (Mt. Sterling, KY)
Noah Burress – Buckeye Trail High School (Cambridge, OH)
Chandler Patrick – Tyner High School (Chattanooga, TN)
Cody Ricker – Morristown East High School (Morristown, TN)
Drew Chambers – Signal Mountain High School (Signal Mountain, TN)
Eli Stout – Sequatchie County High School (Dunlap, TN)
Gray Bunch – Powell High School (Powell, TN)
Jake Ables – Soddy-Daisy High School (Soddy Daisy, TN)
Jake Robbins – Sevier County High School (Sevierville, TN)
Drake Fox – Adamsville High School (Adamsville, TN)
Ty Johnson – Gibbs High School (Corryton, TN)
Caleb Melton – Grace Christian High School (Knoxville, TN)
Isaiah Hayes – Brainerd High School (Chattanooga, TN)
Phillip Patrick – Tyner High School (Chattanooga, TN).
Over the past six years, Bland has led UC to a 47-18 record with four straight Mid-South Conference Divisional Championships from 2007 to 2010. The Patriots made it to the NAIA National Championship tournament all four of those seasons and were on the cusp of making it his other two.
UC will open the 2012 season at James H. Taylor, II Stadium in Williamsburg as they take on Belhaven University in a MSC crossover game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm.
For more information on the Patriot football program as well as other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.