Two Pioneers made their pledge Tuesday to continue their football careers at the next level.
Linebacker Trayton Rackley signed to play next fall at Cumberland University, while defensive lineman Luke Nesbitt will be pressuring quarterbacks as a member of the Tusculum College Pioneers.
“It’s exciting for these guys to get a chance to keep playing and to further their education,” said Pioneer coach Tom Moore, who has coached both for the last three seasons.
Rackley was a stalwart in the middle of the Pioneer defense for most of his career. It seemed to be an easy transition to be the captain of the defense after serving as a quarterback for several years while playing youth and middle school football.
Tuesday was a culmination of years of hard work for Rackley toward one goal: continuing his football career in college.
“My dream has always been to play collegiate football,” said Rackley. “It is something I started thinking about from the first time I really started playing.”
Rackley believes his new school will be a great fit.
“I thought it was the best fit for me. I like the school, I have friends there and I like the new coach,” said Rackley.
A leader on and off the field, coach Moore believes Rackley has the skills necessary to make an impact.
“Trayton has been a three-year starter for us. He is a very aggressive linebacker and made a number of big play for us,” said Moore. “He comes from a great family and I am very happy for him.”
Nesbitt will be swapping colors, but will still be a Pioneer. Nesbitt chose Tusculum over other schools in large part due to academics.
“I researched their academic programs and I felt I could really better my education there,” said Nesbitt.
Nesbitt burst onto the scenes as a senior, using his size and speed to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. Nesbitt was a team leader in sacks, pressures and tackles from his end position.
“Luke really has the tools to excel at the next level. He is big, strong and fast,” said Moore. “Luke has not played much football. I think his best days are ahead of him.”
While the signing day lacked the glitz and glamour of the signing days in February usually aired on ESPN, coach Moore encouraged his former players to keep improving.
If his experience at Christian Brothers – where he coached before taking the job in Warren County before the 2015 season – taught Moore anything, it’s that some great careers start from humble beginnings.
“When I was at Christian Brothers, we had Anthony Miller. He didn’t have big offers, but he had a chip on his shoulder,” said Moore. “He walked on at Memphis and last week he was selected in the second round by the Chicago Bears.
"You never know how these things are going to go.”
Both players are expected to enroll in school this August.