KINGSPORT — The East Tennessee State University football revival is under way.
Dobyns-Bennett gridiron talent has joined the congregation.
Indians running back Zach Casey signed a national letter of intent upstairs at the D-B Alumni Field House Wednesday, making himself part of ETSU’s first football recruiting class since the Buccaneers program turned out the lights in 2003.
The 6-foot, 200 pound Casey is among the first three Tribe football players to sign with ETSU since Scott Butler in 2001.
Two former D-B teammates who graduated last spring — Trevor Gilliam, a 6-4, 290 defensive end and Seth Barger, a 5-10, 170 defensive back — are also listed among coach Carl Torbush’s 2014-15 recruiting class.
Casey shared Wednesday’s ceremonial spotlight with three D-B senior teammates who’ll accompany him to ETSU as invited walk-ons: linebacker Trey Trammell, wide receiver D.J. Jones and offensive lineman Austin Hayworth.
The 5-9, 190 Trammell was the Tribe’s leading tackler in 2013 with 85 on the season, nine for loss. Jones was the Indians’ leading receiver with 27 catches for 670 yards and five touchdowns.
Hayworth, who anchored the Tribe line at center in 2013, missed the postseason due to a fractured fibula in Game 10. The 5-10, 225 snapper’s leg has mended and he’s good to go.
Other area players who signed with the Bucs Wednesday included Tennessee High receiver Adam Mitchell, Elizabethton defensive back Terrence Turner, Science Hill linebacker Gad Nagba and running back Chance Pierce and David Crockett defensive lineman Colt Jenkins.
Elsewhere in the area, Volunteer middle linebacker Robert Ramsey signed to play at Tusculum. The 6-2, 210 Ramsey led the Falcons with 111 tackles, 12 for loss, an interception and a defensive score. Dalton Brown of David Crockett, a versatile running back and receiver, also signed with the Pioneers.
Chris Trivette, a 6-3, 230 defensive end from Sullivan Central signed with Bethel University. Bethel is an NAIA Division I program located in McKenzie, Tenn. that competes in the Southern States Athletic Conference.
Matt Jones, a 6-4, 290 offensive lineman from Clintwood signed with Fairmont State. The program is an NAIA Division II program that competes in the Mountain East Conference, which includes Virginia-Wise as a member.
In signings not related to football, Sullivan East had a pair of harriers sign with Lees-McRae. Jennifer Warren and Shane Stafford will run for the Bobcats women’s and men’s cross country teams, respectively. Lees-McRae is an NCAA Division II program and member of Conference Carolinas, of which King University is also affiliated.