Rebs Patton, Williams to play far away

Rebs Patton, Williams to play far away
Rebs Patton, Williams to play far away

Obion Central’s Steven Patton and Jaquis Williams both signed to play college football on Wednesday.
Steven Patton and Jaquis Williams are going away to college.
Far, far away.
On Wednesday, the pair became the fourth and fifth players from the Obion Central football program over the last three years to sign college scholarship papers when Patton inked with Division II Carson-Newman College and Williams wrote his ticket to Iowa Western Community College in what was essentially a “sign and place” deal with the University of Wyoming after Williams failed to qualify academically.
Patton, who made 99 tackles — 10 for lost yardage — and had a pair of interceptions in his first year playing linebacker during his senior season at OCCHS, will travel nearly 400 miles to Jefferson City (Tenn.) for his new home this fall.
Williams, a defensive end who had 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage among his 61 tackles as a senior, will journey more than 650 miles on a ride of more than 10 hours for the opportunity to suit up at Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the Reivers.
Both say it’s by design and not necessity that their respective college destinations are hundreds of miles from their Obion County roots.
“It (the distance) doesn’t bother me and it’s actually part of the reason I chose there,” insisted the 6-1, 195-pound Patton, who also visited Tusculum College in Greeneville before deciding on attending C-N to play for Division II Hall of Fame coach Ken Sparks.
“I want to see other things and experience other parts of the country.”
Williams (6-4, 230), who was reinstated to the program before his senior campaign after being suspended late in his junior season for a violation of team rules, said his future address would “help me get a clean start.”
“I’m excited about it,” he said.
The “sign and place” deal is typical when Division I schools ink a prospective player who does not qualify academically, and the signings do not count against the number of signees that a program is allowed.
Williams has as many as two years at the junior college to get his grades  in order and then can be put on scholarship at Wyoming if the Cowboys still want him at that time.
Patton’s classroom stan-ding is in order with an overall GPA of near 3.0 and a 23 score on his ACT. He said he plans to major in biology, with an “eye”  toward optometry school.
He cited C-N’s rich tradition (three D-2 national title games) and its top-of-the line facilities as the biggest reasons he chose the Eagles.
Williams has never actually been on either the Wyoming or Iowa Western CC campus. Obion Central head coach Shawn Jackson sent Williams’ highlight tape to coaching friend and current Cowboy head coach Dave Christensen in November, and members of the Wyoming staff came to OCCHS to visit with Williams and kept in constant contact with both the player and Jackson before extending the scholarship offer.
Jackson said he didn’t believe the distance from home would be an issue for either player and insisted the opportunity for both to get a college education with the aid of football was there for the taking for each one.
“Part of my job (as a head coach) is to get them there (to college) with an opportunity to both go to school and play ball. It’s someone else’s job to get them to stay. And it’s each player’s job to make good decisions and do the right things.
“Steven Patton is the kind of kid I hope my son grows up to be like. He does everything right and everything you ask of him. He had a couple of other opportunities, but he wanted to stay in-state.
“As far as Jacquis, I sent his highlight tape to (Wyoming assistant and former Missouri aide) Alex Grinch because I know how they run the program there and the kids who go out there, make it. They’re placing him at Iowa Western to get his grades in order at Iowa Western and then he’ll have a chance to go to Wyoming and make it for himself.”
The maps — for both Patton and Williams — have been drawn.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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