Photo: Etowah High seniors Emil Smith (right) and Trey Cole signed football scholarship on Wednesday (Feb. 6). (Mike Goodson/Messenger)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
A pair of Etowah High seniors will showcase their gridiron skills at the next level.
Emil Smith and Trey Cole both signed football scholarship on Wednesday (Feb. 6) in Attalla.
Smith, who verbally committed to Georgia Southern in November, officially inked with the Eagles. Cole signed with NAIA member Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.
A 6-1, 192-pound receiver, Smith had 12 receptions for 415 yards and six touchdowns. He joins a Georgia Southern team that went 10-3 this past season, including a victory over Eastern Michigan in the Camelia Bowl.
“I feel this is a great opportunity for me to continue my playing career, and I would like to thank God for the position I am in today!” said Smith. “We stand a good chance to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship and return to a bowl next season. My teammate Justin Harris and I pushed each other this past season to be the best we each could be.”
Cole joins a Blue Raider squad that went 7-3 last season while competing in the Mid-South Conference.
As a big part of a standout Etowah defense, Cole finished last season with 62 tackles (including 30 for a loss), 10 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.
“I have my teammates to thank for this opportunity; they are my brothers and great people,” said Cole. “I felt at home visiting Lindsey Wilson; it was a family atmosphere.”
Cole mentioned the Blue Devils’ 2017 and 2018 region games against Guntersville as two of the more memorable contests he participated in during his high school career.
“In the game my junior year, we were involved in a nail-biter. (Cornerback) DeRickey Wright intercepted a pass, and I made the block to spring him for the touchdown. My senior year, we stuck [Guntersville] pretty good, and I had one of my best games.”
Smith and Cole were significant factors in the Blue Devils’ success this past season, which included a 12-1 record, an undefeated regular season, a Class 5A, Region 6 championship and a second straight berth in the state quarterfinals. Etowah outscored the opposition by a per-game average of 32 to 9 while posting five shutouts.
“Emil was always a big threat player with his speed,” said former Etowah head football coach Drew Noles. “He spent a lot of time on the field and got a lot of snaps on both offense and defense. Emil also was our starting safety and got us lined up on defense. He was a big factor in field position, because other teams had to kick the ball away from him because of his breakaway speed. Trey was a dominant player that played both offensive and defensive line for us. He played violent and also has two state wrestling championships to his credit. Both Emil and Trey are good stu-dents and have a chance to make an impact on their prospective universities.”
Chris McCarthy contributed to this article.