Whitehead inks name with the University of the Cumberlands

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2016


ELIZABETHTON – Cloudland’s Austin Whitehead made it official Wednesday as he put pen to paper to continue his football career as a Patriot at the University of the Cumberlands.

“It’s just a really great school, the academics are really good,” Whitehead said about choosing the school where he will study sports management. “I want to further my education. I felt like it was the best school for me to do that.”

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Whitehead had a successful career as a Highlander on both sides of the field. He accounted for 4,715 rushing yards in the four years with 2,000 through the air passing. He also recorded 424 tackles and nine interceptions. Whitehead also was a four-time All-Conference selection and was the league MVP twice.

“The last four years, I played on both sides of the ball so that has helped me tremendously with getting to know each,” Whitehead commented about being a two-way threat. “It’s a good thing to have.”

The 2013 season he posted the sixth best single-season rushing total by a quarterback with 1,573 yards en route to All-State honors and added 1,471 more rushing yards this past season.

Whitehead will be a part of the Patriots’ triple option attack and is slotted to compete for a spot as the B back and an outside linebacker on defense until a spot is determined. A season ago the Patriots averaged 342.7 rushing yards per game for third best in the NAIA and had 40 rushing touchdowns in 10 games.

“That played a huge thing into signing there,” Whitehead said about the Cumberlands. “The first thing you do is look at the wins at the school to see if they’re winning and that plays a huge role into what you decide. I looked at the tradition and they win football games. That’s what they do.”

On hand at the signing was Whitehead’s coach for the last four years, Brock Pittman. Pittman feels that Whitehead will make a good fit at the Univeristiy of the Cumberlands.

“Football wise, he’ll take toughness where they want him to play, which is perfect for him,” said Pittman. “He’s a good person on and off the field. He’s done well in the classroom, and he understands he’s got to bring yourself up another level in that too as well. I’ve told him what to expect and what to do academically because that is the most important thing.”

The University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Ky., went 7-3 a season ago which included a pair of three-game winning streaks. In the Mid-South Conference East Division the Patriots were 4-1 which was second and received votes in the final NAIA Postseason Coaches’ Poll. The Patriots inked 59 players for the fall which includes a total of 33 from across Tennessee.