Jacob Williams to join former teammates at U. of Cumberlands

Rhea Co’s Jacob Williams to join former teammates at Univ. of Cumberlands

It’s official.  Rhea County’s Jacob Williams, a class of 2015 graduate and first team All-State football standout, has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY.

Williams will join former teammates Tyler Pendleton, Gavin Downey, and Noel Patterson who signed with the Patriots earlier this year.

Golden Eagles (L-R) Gavin Downey, Tyler Pendleton, Jacob Williams, and Noel Patterson to join U. of Cumberlands roster for 2016 season. (RheaReview/ElmerHarris)

Golden Eagles (L-R) Gavin Downey, Tyler Pendleton, Jacob Williams, and Noel Patterson to join U. of Cumberlands roster for 2016 season. (RheaReview/ElmerHarris)

Together Again

Williams left an offer from Carson Newman on the table to concentrate on his Exercise and Science degree at Bryan College and overcome minor injuries.

Jacob always did a great job for us – really good leadership and hard-working kid. He’ll do the same at Cumberland.

Coach Mark Pemberton

But after a one-year hiatus, Williams says he’s ready to get back on the field.

“I just love the game too much not to play,” says Williams.  “I wanted to feel the experience of college ball.”

And as for the prospect of playing with three of his Eagle brethren, Williams says they’ll have each others back in the classroom and on the field.

“That’s how Rhea County guys do it.  You’ve got each other.”

“He’s a great ballplayer and even better guy,” states Pendleton.  “It will be nice to go up there with some guys you know and trust, and I trust this group of guys.”

“I’m very excited to see him go up there with some guys he knows well,” says a proud head coach Mark Pemberton.  “That will make it easier for them to transition from high school to college.”

Leaving a Legacy

Jacob Williams

Golden Eagle Senior Jacob Williams #52 buckles defender backwards 7 yards while blocking for Noel Patterson #11 on a wide receiver screen play. (photo: Rhea Review / Gary Bolden)

At Rhea County, Williams was part of one of the biggest turnarounds in the state.  After witnessing the Eagles suffer a 3-17 record during his freshman and sophomore years, his team flourished under the direction of new head coach Mark Pemberton.

The team punched a 10-2 record his junior season finishing in the second round of the playoffs.

Williams and fellow seniors would go on to put an exclamation point on their high school careers with a semifinal berth and a 13-1 record, leaving behind a legacy for years to come.

In addition to first team All-State honors, Williams’ accolades include appearances in the TN-KY Border bowl and  the TN-GA All-Star game.

He also set a high mark in the Golden Eagle weight room with a 375 pound record on bench that still stands today.

Success Breeds Success

“I expect him to be a heck of a player there just like he was here,” insists Pemberton.  “Jacob always did a great job for us – really good leadership and hard-working kid.  He’ll do the same at Cumberland.”

I plan on teaching and coaching and hope they (Rhea County Football) have a spot for me when I get back.

Legendary Eagle, Jacob Williams

The University of Cumberlands are part of the Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division as part of the NAIA.  The Patriots earned a berth to the NAIA National Championship in 2013 finishing the season with a 13-1 school record.

Williams and fellow Eagles hope they can help the Pats return and ultimately win a NAIA Championship.  They are also looking forward to facing off against fellow Eagle James Sharp, who signed with Cumberlands’ rival, Lindsey Wilson College last week.

Williams says he’s excited to play again, but his ultimate goal is to get his degree and join Pemberton on the sidelines.

“I plan on teaching and coaching and hope they (Rhea County Football) have a spot for me when I get back.”


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