Tiger standout McWilliams signs with Blue Raiders

Sunday, February 5, 2017
Marshall County High Schoolís Cain McWilliams (front row center) is supported by his family as he signs his Letter of Intent to play football at MTSU next season.
Tribune photo by Mike Inglsbee

Cain McWilliams played just one season for the Marshall County Tigers, but itís a season the Tiger faithful won't soon forget.

McWilliams, a transfer from Fayetteville City High was a dominant force on the widely feared Marshall County defense which culminated in a 4A Mr. Football runner-up finish, All-State, All-Midstate, and All-Region honors.

On the recruiting trail, the star linebacker finished things off early by committing to Middle Tennessee State University towards the beginning of the season over offers from South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia State, UT-Martin, Jackson State, Mercer, Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay.

"MTSU showed me love since the first day they offered me," McWilliams said. "Every time I went to visit they treated me like family."

"The recruiting process is crazy at times, it's fun at times," McWilliams added. "I was just truly blessed to be in the position I'm in."

In choosing MTSU McWilliams will join Aaron Medley (Tennessee), Jay Murphy (UT-Martin), Chris Walker (Cornell), and Jay Howard (Citadel) as former Tigers competing in DI football next fall.

MTSU has reached new heights in both football and enrollment since the Blue Raiders moved up from FCS to the FBS level in 2000, moving from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Sunbelt Conference before moving up to Conference USA in 2013.

The football team has also seen tremendous success since jumping to the FBS level, winning its second Sunbelt Championship in 2006 and playing in its first major bowl game (Motor City Bowl) later that season.

The Blue Raiders have played in five bowl games since that period including the Bahamas Bowl in 2015 and Hawaii Bowl in 2016.

McWilliams was a beast on both sides of the ball in 2016, averaging 8.4 yards per carry for 360 yards on 43 carries and 11 touchdowns, while leading the defense with 101 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, and 15 quarterback hurries.

"Cain has meant the world to our football team," MCHS coach Thomas Osteen said. "We were going to have a good team this past year, but with Cain coming in it really allowed us to be special on defense and gave us a play making individual at the linebacker position."

"I feel like he's still learning the game," Osteen, a former MTSU football player said. "He'll have to study and dive full speed into the playbook and techniques, but there's very few guys at the MTSU level that are physically ready to play day one when they get on campus."

"I feel like he's one of those guys and I won't be surprised to see him get valuable minutes as a freshman," Osteen added.

As for Cain, his expectations for his first season are like any other freshmen.

"I'm expecting to get to know a lot of people," McWilliams said. "Hopefully a lot of playing time and possibly starting."