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Cole to Army headlines signing day at Boone

Jeff Birchfield • Feb 14, 2020 at 7:18 PM

GRAY — Charlie Cole, called one of the best athletes ever to wear the red and gold by Daniel Boone football coach Jeremy Jenkins, signed to play for Army during the upcoming season.

Cole was one of 12 Boone athletes celebrated during a Friday signing-day ceremony.

Cross country athletes Lauren Spry, Mason Lewis and Chris Upham are all headed to Milligan, as are volleyball player Grayson Stevens and women’s basketball player Madi Runnels.

Other athletes bound for the next level include Judy Chellah (Lincoln Memorial, cross country), Nickolette Ferguson (Carson-Newman, softball), Mackenzie Sweigart (Walters State, volleyball) and Daniel Lusk (Peru State, football).

Two other cross country athletes were recognized for receiving prestigious scholarships. Austin Galloway has received nomination to the Air Force Academy and Keaton Smith is a recipient of East Tennessee State’s Roan Scholars Leadership Program.

Cole starred at running back for the Trailblazers, becoming the first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards. Earning all-state honors his junior year, Cole led Northeast Tennessee with 1,854 rushing yards. He had an injury-plagued sophomore season and broke his arm his senior year before coming back for the playoffs, where he had a 35-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown against Halls.

Cole entered the year with 3,535 rushing yards and his sights set on becoming the first Boone back to rush for over 4,000 yards in his career. He opened the season with 121 against Sullivan South before being injured the following week against Greeneville.

“I wasn’t planning on being hurt the second game of the year,” Cole said. “I had dreams and aspirations of getting records here and I was super close. At the point I got hurt, I was waiting on coming back. To come back my last two games, it was just unbelievable. No words to describe it.”

Cole likes the opportunities the U.S. Military Academy at West Point presents. He plans to major in pre-med with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. He will have a minor in engineering.

“It’s great to know that I’m set the next four years of my life, playing at one of the most prestigious schools in the nation,” Cole said. “It’s a blessing. At Army, there are the leadership values you’re going to learn. I think of myself as a leader, been a leader on this team the last four years, and I think I have a great opportunity to enhance my leadership skills.”

He called Jenkins — the longest-tenured high school head football coach in Northeast Tennessee — a great leader and coach who will help and support you.

Cole had several memorable games and moments during his time at Boone. They included rushing for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-28 win over Science Hill his junior year. His favorite moment came in his freshman year during a 14-10 Musket Bowl victory over David Crockett.

“We’re playing at Crockett and they were up by three points. We were on their 42-yard line,” he recalled. “I got a toss sweep down the left sideline and I ran for a touchdown to win the game. That’s the best memory I’ve ever had.”

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