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FOOTBALL -- Local athletes flip commitments

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Staats & Dowell

Rusty Staats & Chris Dowell
Two of Wilson County's more heralded high school football players have flipped their original commitments and have announced new plans for their respective college careers.

Watertown High offensive lineman Rusty Staats, a Tennessee Titans Mr. Football nominee and all-state selection announced via Twitter Wednesday evening he has verbally committed to the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Region 4, 2A Most Valuable Lineman, Staats had earlier committed to the Air Force Academy.

"First off, I would like to thank God for giving me the athletic ability to play the game I love," Staats Tweeted.

"I would like to thank my family, friends and coaches for helping me through every step of the recruiting process.

"I would like to thank Air Force for always being honest and their coaches for recruiting me.

"At this time, I am decommitting from the Air Force Academy and 100 percent committing to the Naval Academy."

Staats will be the second Wilson County lineman to play at Navy -- joining former Friendship Christian All-Stater Andrew Wood as a Midshipman.

Wilson Central's gifted wide receiver Colton Dowell had verbally committed to Chattanooga several weeks ago, but flipped to UT-Martin after taking an official visit this past weekend.

Named All-Wilson County by The Wilson Post and an All-Region 4, 5A selection, Dowell confirmed his decision in a Tweet Monday.

"It's been a long journey, and I'm finally going to be committing to the University of Tennessee at Martin," Dowell Tweeted.

"Thank you to the Lord, my family and all the coaches and mentors that have given me guidance.

"Also thank you to all the coaches that have recruited me through this whole time.

"I greatly appreciate you and what you have done for me.

"I am really excited to continue my playing career at UTM."

Former Lebanon High standout Julian Crutchfield was a redshirt freshman defensive lineman for the SkyHawks in 2016.

Both are expected to ink National Letters of Intent Wednesday, Feb. 1 on National Signing Day.

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Colton Dowell, football, Midshipmen, Purple Tigers, Rusty Staats, SkyHawks, University of Tennessee at Martin, US Naval Academy, Watertown High School, Wilson Central Wildcats
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