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Sterling-to-Ole Miss highlight signings
FHS rushing phenom accepts late offer from new Ole MIss skipper Houston Nutt; Halliday soon off to Ivy League — Yale

After hitting dry wells with three SEC schools, Andre Sterling hit a gusher in Oxford, Miss.

Less than a week later, the 6,000-yard career Farragut High School rushing phenom and All-state honoree was part of big-time college football as an Ole Miss Rebel, making it official on National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 6, at FHS.

“Coach [Houston] Nutt was cool and everybody there was just so friendly — it’s a big family up there and that’s what we all wanted,” Sterling said. “The called me and they asked me to come on an official [visit]. We went up there and talked to coach Nutt and everything fell in place. ... They said they like the way I run and that I have a lot of heart.”

Meanwhile, five Bearden Bulldogs also made their college grid choices official Feb. 6, led by All-state quarterback Dawson Halliday’s choice of Ivy League Yale. Details later in this story.

Sterling, a Class AAA Mr. Football finalist who rushed for 2,784 yards and 29 touchdowns as an FHS senior, said UT “was off and on” with interest, while Vanderbilt “was there for a while.”

South Carolina had Sterling on a recruiting “waiting list” where he would get an offer only if other runningbacks they were recruiting went elsewhere.

Sterling said the Rebel program officially offered a scholarship Monday, Feb. 4, just hours after his visit to the Oxford campus. “I’ve been blessed by the grace of God that I got a D-1 scholarship.”

Sterling, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound 18-year-old, said his 40-yard dash time is “4.46” seconds.

Eddie Courtney, FHS head coach, said Ole Miss wants Sterling “to put on a little weight ... work on his leg strength.”

Saying Sterling is the first Admiral major college runningback in Courtney’s 30 seasons as an FHS coach, “that speaks highly of his talent and what he can do.”

As for what Ole Miss liked most? “There biggest thing was he got yards after contact, almost no fumbling, and four years with no injuries, no history of injuries,” Courtney said.


With a 3.9 GPA, excellent ACT score and strong athletic credentials, Halliday will be off to Yale.

“It’s good to see that if you work hard, things will pay off,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound 18-year-old who is two-time All-Region 1-5A.

Sean Cunningham, 17, an All-state cornerback also a two-time All-Region honoree, signed with Tennessee State.

“The coaches were real nice, made me feel like family. ... They told me I’ll probably play my freshman year [free safety],” the 6-foot-2, 208-pound senior said.

Preston Rouse, 18, a 6-foot-3, 215 All-Region linebacker, chose Austin Peay because he loved the APSU campus and “fit right in” while school officials “took good care of me.” He’s projected as an outside linebacker.

Brandon Pemberton, 18, a 6-foot, 215-pound All-Region linebacker-fullback, said “being close to family,” early playing time and academics were the main factors in his choice of Maryville College.

Logan Maynard, 18, a 6-foot-3, 170 standout tight-end/slot receiver with 19 catches in 2007, signed with Belhaven College, Jackson, Miss, an NAIA school of about 1,800 students. Why Belhaven? “The coaches and the team ... good atmosphere,” he said.


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