Haislip, McWilliams eye next level
Following a season in which Marshall County won 12 games and advanced within one game of playing for a state championship several Tiger players have caught the eyes of college recruiters.
Along with a pair of highly coveted wide receivers in Jay Howard and Tre Crutcher, the line backing duo of Fayetteville transfer Cain McWilliams and J.Q. Haislip have also gained opportunities to continue playing careers well past the end of the 2016 season.
Haislip, who led the potent Tiger defense with 87 tackles, three interceptions, and three games with over 10 tackles recently picked up his first offer from the Ohio Valley Conference when Morehead State gave the senior the chance show off his multitude of skills at the college level.
"I was talking to a coach from Morehead (State) about attending their camp," Haislip said. "He said he wanted me to come because he didn't get a chance to really watch me at another camp a few weeks before. After their camp I was talking to couple of the coaches and they had told me that they liked what they seen and were going to offer me. It's a good football environment and I feel like they have a good thing going for them. Also I really like that they have an on campus lake!"
Haislip, the third Tiger to receive an offer from the OVC school from Morehead, Kentucky, likes the possibility of playing with two of his longtime teammates from Lewisburg but realizes that everyone will have to make his own decision.
The (possibility of playing with Crutcher and Howard) does (weigh in the decision) but then again not really," Haislip added. "It would be nice to go do what I love with the people I've been playing with all my life."
Haislip, who also added 6.5 tackles for a loss and one sack, agrees that such a successful junior season was key in getting college attention and another great senior year will only add to the growing hype surrounding the Tiger linebacker.
"(The playoffs) were easy exposure for me considering I hadn't talked to any coaches before this year," Haislip said. "I'm hoping other coaches have noticed me from the playoffs. I feel that I am very coachable and very determined. Even though I'm not too tall I feel like I'm still able to play my position very well. Also, I will do whatever it takes to make sure my team gets the win."
McWilliams, who might be the most highly recruited player in Lewisburg since Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower roamed the fields, holds offers from South Carolina, Kentucky, MTSU, Georgia State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT-Martin, Jacksonville and Austin Peay.
The hard hitting linebacker led 1A Fayetteville to a 9-3 record and the second round of the TSSAA playoffs before falling short against quarter-finalist South Pittsburg and made the choice to transfer to Marshall County because of the level of competition.
"Nothing against Fayetteville High but I wanted to play with more division one talent," McWilliams said. "I'm playing with a lot more division one talent in Lewisburg. I love that because I love to compete!"
McWilliams, a double threat for the Tigers of Fayetteville in 2015, led the team with 60 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, and two interceptions also added over 1,000 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns keeps things simple as far as aspirations for the 2016 season.
"I want to have an amazing and blessed senior season," McWilliams offered.
With four players holding offers from division one football programs and more returning talent than any other team in the region anything less would come as a major surprise to the growing legion of Tiger fans eagerly anticipating the start of the 2016 football season.