Four Rhea County High School (RCHS) Golden Eagle football players signed their national letter of intent on Friday, March 13, to play the sport they love at the collegiate level.

Family, friends, loved ones, teammates, coaches, administrators and pastors gathered in the RCHS commons area to show their support of the four college-bound athletes, which included quarterback Kyle Carr, running back/linebacker Bradley Goodwin, running back Jackson Langley and lineman Jacob Stringfellow.

Carr and Goodwin’s pictures and stories were in the Sunday, March 22, edition of The Herald-News. In case you missed them, please check out our website and Facebook page.

Prior to all four signees inking their letters on the proverbial dotted line, Eagle head football coach, Mark Pemberton, congratulated and commended the signees on their hard work in the classroom while at RCHS and encouraged the remaining underclassmen to acknowledge what it takes to get to a signing day.

“One thing about these guys, and we tell you other players this all of the time, the higher the academics, the more doors it opens up,” said Pemberton to the underclassmen Eagle football players who were on hand at the signing. “[..] Do the job in the classroom. You can’t wait two years, then, decide all of a sudden try to find a path. You have to do it as a freshman all the way through.

Academics opens more doors for athletic coaches,” continued Pemberton. “

Jackson Langley – Ohio Northern University

One of the leading rushers for the Eagles this past season at the running back position, Langley signed a scholarship to play for the Polar Bears of Ohio Northern University (ONU). Langley helped guide the 2019 Golden Eagles to the second round of the TSSAA playoffs, as he and his team posted an overall 9-3 record last fall.

Langley played in two post-season all-star games, the biggest being the Blue-Grey All-American game, which aired on ESPN 3 on Jan. 4, and was played at the home field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at Raymond James Stadium.

Langley is excited for his opportunity, and expressed the relief after he chose ONU, with regards of making such a tough decision.

“It feels really good,” said Langley about signing with ONU. “A lot of stress and anxiety that had built up on where we were going to go and how we were going to make the decision, but it’s all over with and done now, and I’m ready to get up there and get started and get to work.”

Several factors played a part in Langley’s decision to attend ONU.

“Really, it was mixture of a few things,” explained Langley on choosing ONU. “If you look at where it is, it’s small town USA, like I’m used to here. And, the coaching staff is very player oriented, where they want the players to do well in the classroom and on the field.

They’re also Christ-based as well,” continued Langley. “I feel like I’m going to have a good foundation going there, as far as, spiritually, following Jesus Christ, as well as getting a fantastic education, playing football and winning championships.”

Langley plans to study Construction Management in college, which is a familiar environment for the signee, as he has been around the atmosphere nearly his entire life.

“My grandfather owns a construction company, and I’ve worked in and around that [environment] my whole life,” said Langley of what sparked his career path interest. “I’ve done that all throughout the summer and winter, when football is over.

I’ve even ran a couple of jobs as 17-year-old kid, now 18 obviously, but I’ve done that sort of stuff my whole life,” continued Langley. “I’m pretty good at it, but you need that piece of paper saying you’re good at it, so I’m going up there, getting that degree, finish it up, and maybe run my grandfather’s company someday, if he decides to step away, or even start my own company.”

Langley stated one of his favorite moments on the football field happened this past season, on homecoming night, against Lenoir City.  

“My favorite moment was not playing, it wasn’t in the game, because we dominated them, and I had a pretty good game that night,” said Langley. “I think it was just walking out onto the field, and thinking, my gosh, this is my senior homecoming, everybody’s here and I walked out as a captain.

I think walking out as a captain on homecoming night, my senior year, with Bradley Goodwin, Jacob Stringfellow and Kyle Carr was my favorite moment,” added Langley. “I believe that was my favorite moment and I can’t ever get rid of that feeling.”

ONU is a Division III school located in Ada, Ohio, and competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Jacob Stringfellow – Cumberland University

One of the anchors on the Eagles’ offensive line, who also spent time on the defensive line this past fall, Stringfellow signed a scholarship to play for the Cumberland University Phoenix. Stringfellow helped guide the 2019 Golden Eagles to the second round of the TSSAA playoffs, as he and his team posted an overall 9-3 record last fall.

Stringfellow played in three post-season all-star games, the biggest being the Blue-Grey All-American game, which aired on ESPN 3 on Jan. 4, and was played at the home field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at Raymond James Stadium.

Excited for his upcoming academic and football opportunity in the fall, Stringfellow specified a few selling points of what lured him to Cumberland.

“It feels great,” said Stringfellow on becoming a Phoenix. “I like the feel of the campus, and I also like the coaching staff. I’ve been up there on two or three visits, and I love how the campus feels. It’s small and not really huge.

The coaches are really what drew to me it the most,” added Stringfellow. “Overall, I feel like it’s going to be a pretty good fit for me. When I was there, it just made it feel like it was going to be home, so, I think it will turn out good. I’m comfortable there, I like the coaching staff, the campus, so, I think it’s just a really good fit.”

Stringfellow stated one of his favorite moments on the football field for the Eagles happened this past season, in the first-round playoff game against Knoxville Fulton. In that game, Stringfellow forced a fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Eagles, and, Stringfellow also recovered a fumble and came close to scoring on the play.

“I played defense just about that whole game, and we were tearing them up, so probably in that one we had the most fun,” said Stringfellow. “It was the first playoff game, so we were all hyped up.”

Stringfellow plans to study Physical Education at Cumberland University, get his secondary education degree and aspires to come back home to RCHS to teach and coach the Eagles. He will join former Eagles’ quarterback, Zach Pemberton, who inked his papers with Cumberland a year ago, and will be a redshirt freshman on the Phoenix roster this fall.

Cumberland University is in Lebanon, Tennessee and competes in the Mid-South Conference, which is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).