Cumberland football coach Donnie Suber announced the signing of 13 players to scholarship papers this week for the 2014 season, including area products Dakota Self, Coleton Thomas and Jeff Benson.
Benson was a three-year letterwinner for coach Thomas McDaniel at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro. He was named the team’s Lineman of the Year as a senior and played in the Toyota East/West All-Star Game at the conclusion of the season.
Benson also won an award for Dedication in the Weight Room as a junior. He has also lettered four years in wrestling and was a state qualifier as a sophomore and junior, recording 27 pins last season and reaching the 100 career win plateau this year. He is the son of Becky and Jeff Benson, Sr.
Self was a four-year letterwinner for coach Gavin Webster at Watertown High School, garnering All-District 8-A honors as a junior and senior. He was named the squad’s Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, recording 100 tackles with three fumble recoveries and six sacks this season.
He registered 84 tackles with three tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries as a junior and collected 64 stops with three sacks and 11 tackles for loss as a sophomore. Self added 389 rushing yards and 486 receiving yards in 2013 and had 324 yards on the ground and 476 receiving yards as a junior for the Purple Tigers. He is the son of Donnie and Christine Self.
Thomas played for coach Sam Harp at Lebanon High School and was named the team’s Defensive Lineman of the Year as a senior. He is the son of Terry Thomas and Karen Baker.
Eli Ironside hails from Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Ga., where he was a First Team All-County and All-State selection for coach Phil Ironside, former Middle Tennessee quarterback. He was named the 6A Offensive Player of the Year by the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association and the Marietta Daily Journal Offensive Player of the Year. Ironside posted a 22-3 mark as a starting quarterback, amassing 2,600 passing yards and 41 touchdowns for the Hawks. He is the son of Phil and Latashia Ironside.
Florence, Ala., native Drake Tyler started 20 consecutive games at Florence High School for coach Jamey Dubose and the Falcons, earning Most Improved Offensive Player as a senior. He also lettered in track and field during his career at FHS.
Jalen Jackson lettered his senior year for coach Matt Daniel at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., earning All-Region accolades. He also participated in the D.L. Scott Coalition East-West All-Star Game and has lettered one year in baseball for the Patriots. He is the son of Delois and Jeffrey Jackson.
Chandler Peeples, another Heritage product, lettered three years at HHS, garnering All-Region and All-Area honors. He played in the D.L. Scott Coalition East-West All-Star Game and the Florida-Georgia All-Star Game and was a Georgia High School Assocation Preseason Academic selection and a four-year scholar-athlete. He is the son of Molly Peeples and Gene Peeples.
Donovan Norfleet also was a three-year letterwinner for coach Daniel at Heritage, earning All-Area and All-Region accolades for the Patriots. He participated in the D.L. Scott Coalition East-West All-Star Game and was a two-year school-athlete as well. He is the son of Kevin and Antoinette Norfleet.
Newman, Ga., native Weylin Orr was a three-year letterwinner for coach Ahmand Tinker at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Ga. He rushed for 1,164 yards and 14 touchdowns and collected 10 receptions for 64 yards while garnering All-Region accolades for the Indians. He is also a four-year letterwinner in track and field at ECHS.
Ladarius Rodgers earned All-Region honors for coach Nick Nester at Lake Cormorant High School in Lake Cormorant, Miss. He also lettered in track at LCHS and is the son of Kelvin and Regina Jackson.
Winter Haven, Fla., native Deveonte Mackey was a three-year letterwinner for coach Dan Talbot at Lakeland Senior High School in Lakeland, Fla., garnering Honorable Mention All-Region honors for the Mighty Dreadnaughts. He is the son of Dennis and Gloretha Mackey.
Brendan Lodrigue was a football letterwinner for coach Tim Driscoll at Munford High School in Munford, Tenn., and is the son of John and Samantha Lodrigue.
White House native Wyatt Bailey was an All-District and All-County selection for coach Jeff Porter at White House High School. He also lettered in wrestling for the Blue Devils and is the son of Bill and Laura Moore.