From left: Franklin’s Alex Gaca, Madison Smith, Peyton DePriest, Caden Williams, Barrett Brown, J.P. Batarseh and Lofton Cotton signed national letters of intent Wednesday.
By CHIP CIRILLO
Franklin offensive tackle Caden Williams, a three-year starter, signed with Army in football on Wednesday.
Seven Rebels signed letters of intent of intent in thee sports on National Signing Day, including three preferred walk-ons.
Air Force, Yale and Columbia were also in Williams’ final four, but the 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior chose Army.
“I just went on my official visit and I absolutely loved it there,” Williams said. “The campus was sweet, I loved all the coaches and the players. It’s a great program.”
The Franklin captain said Army is a rebuilding program.
“This past year they beat Navy and they won their bowl game versus North Texas,” said Williams, who plans to become a doctor. “They’re a program on the rise.”
Army finished 8-5 this season after winning its last three games.
Franklin wide receiver Alex Gaca signed with Memphis, where he will move to safety.
The 6-3, 185-pound senior caught 1,200 yards in passes for 14 touchdowns with a 28-yards per catch average during his two-year career.
Austin Peay and Stetson also gave Gaca offers.
“I’ve been wanting to play college football my whole life, so it’s a great feeling,” Gaca said. “We went on our visit last weekend and I just fell in love with the place and all the coaching staff and everything. It was just perfect.”
Franklin defensive end Barrett Brown, who transferred from Montgomery Bell Academy during his freshman year, also signed with Memphis.
The 6-3, 225-pound senior made 67 tackles, including 12 tackles for a loss and four sacks, this season. He recovered one fumble and intercepted one pass.
“There’s a lot of potential at Memphis,” said Brown, who plans to room with Gaca. “The 2017 recruiting class is outstanding. It’s said to be one of the best classes Memphis has ever gotten and I’m really excited to see what we do.”
Franklin wide receiver J.P. Batarseh signed with Austin Peay, which also signed Brentwood Academy quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall.
“I watched him in the state game actually and I’ve been texting him a couple times to see if we can get together and throw a little bit,” said Batarseh, who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash.
Franklin center back Madison Smith signed with Ole Miss in soccer.
“Two years ago, they went to the sweet 16, which was big for them,” said Smith, the Lady Rebels co-captain. “And I’m just ready to go in and make an impact.”
Franklin center forward Peyton DePriest, who scored 29 goals and recorded 11 assists this season, signed with Middle Tennessee State in soccer.
She led the Lady Rebels to a Class AAA runner-up showing.
East Tennessee State and Western Kentucky also made offers to DePriest.
“I really like the atmosphere that the girls soccer program has and I really like the coaching staff,” DePriest said of Middle Tennessee.
Franklin outfielder Lofton Cotton signed with Volunteer State in baseball.
“(Vol State) has been weak in the past, but Coach Ryan Hunt just recently got there so it’s going to get better,” said Cotton, who also got an offer from Cumberand.