Author Archives: Chris Thomas

About Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas covers high school sports for the Knoxville News Sentinel. He previously worked as preps editor at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and high school sports curator for Alabama Media Group.

Basketball postponements for Feb. 12

A batch of wintry weather has disrupted some of Friday’s area high school basketball games. Here’s a rundown on what has been moved, cancelled or remained on schedule. (Note: If a game listed below has been moved, please notify

Moved to Saturday
*Bearden at Farragut (girls 10 a.m.; boys 11:30)
Union County at Claiborne (girls 2 p.m.; boys 3:30)
Hardin Valley at Powell (girls, 2:30 p.m.; boys 4 p.m.)
Cherokee at Jefferson County (girls, 3 p.m.; boys, 4:30)
Gibbs at Clinton (girls, 3 p.m.; boys, 4:30 p.m.)
Anderson County at Central (girls, 3 p.m.; boys, 4:30)
Carter at Cocke County (girls, 4 p.m.; boys, 5:30 p.m.)
Scott at Cumberland Gap (girls 5 p.m.; boys, 6:30)
Rockwood at Midway (from Monday). (girls 6 p.m.; boys, 7:30 p.m.)
Washburn at Cosby (girls 6 p.m.; boys 7:30 p.m.)
Halls at Karns (girls 6 p.m.; boys 7:30)
Morristown East at Heritage (girls, 6:30 p.m.; boys, 8)
*Game originally scheduled at Bearden.

Sweetwater at Coalfield
Concord Christian at Greenback

Still Playing
Gatlinburg-Pittman at Sevier County (girls 5 p.m., boys 6:30)
Berean Christian at Clinch
Oak Ridge at Campbell County (4:30 p.m. girls; boys 6 p.m.)
Meigs County at Grace Christian
Grainger at Pigeon Forge (girls, 5 p.m.; boys, 6:30)
Harriman at Tellico Plains
Sunbright at Jellico (girls, 5 p.m.; boys, 6:30)
Midway at Kingston
Wartburg at Oakdale (girls 5 p.m.; boys 6:30)
Oneida at Oliver Springs
Lenoir City at Loudon
Soddy-Daisy at McMinn County

Saturday’s Games Cancelled
Maryville vs. Jefferson County (At Oak Ridge)

High school basketball postponements for Feb. 9

Tuesday’s boys and girls high school basketball schedule was disrupted by a batch of wintry weather. Here’s the latest on area postponements and cancellations:

Karns at Coalfield

Until Wednesday
Central at Powell
Cherokee at Jefferson County
Lenoir City at Hardin Valley
Oak Ridge at Halls
David Crockett at Morristown East
Gatlinburg-Pittman at Cocke County
Gibbs at Campbell County
Greenback at Rockwood
Wartburg at Oneida
Oliver Springs at Sunbright
Sevier County at Morristown West (4 p.m. girls; 5:30 boys)
Grace Christian at Tellico Plains
Pigeon Forge at Catholic
Washburn at Northview Academy
Tuesday, Feb. 16
Alcoa at Fulton
Bradley Central at Sequoyah
Hancock County at Cosby
Alcoa at Fulton

Games still scheduled for Tuesday:
Claiborne at Scott
Clinton at Anderson County (5 p.m. girls/6:30 boys)
Kingston at Loudon
McMinn County at McMinn Central
Meigs County at Harriman
Midway at Concord Christian
The King’s Academy at Berean Christian
Webb at CAK

Amari Rodgers sets commitment date for Feb. 14, names top 5

Catholic High School junior wide receiver Amari Rodgers announced Thursday night he will choose his college destination on Feb. 14.

Rodgers, a four-star prospect, is rated as the nation’s No. 245 overall prospect and No. 7 player in Tennessee in the 247Sports Composite for the 2017 class.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Rodgers wrote on his Twitter account he will choose between an announced top five of Tennessee, Florida State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Alabama.

Missing from the top five is Southern Cal. Rodgers initially committed to USC where his father, former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin, is a member of the coaching staff. Martin, who led the Vols to the 1998 national championship, was promoted to offensive coordinator in December.

The news of a Feb. 14 decision came four days after Rodgers said he would make a live announcement on in “the next month and a half.”

“I will instead be committing on Valentine’s Day next week!!” Rodgers tweeted on Thursday.

Rodgers visited Clemson last weekend along with Oak Ridge wide receiver Tee Higgins, who announced Thursday his decommitment from Tennessee.

Rodgers generated 2,511 all-purpose yards last season, scoring 31 total touchdowns in five different ways and was named PrepXtra Offensive Player of the Year.

The Class 4A Mr. Football winner led the area with 1,570 receiving yards and 23 TD receptions, but also returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns, had three rushing TDs and returned an interception for a touchdown.

#NSD2016: Signed football players from PrepXtra coverage area

Player High School College Highlights
Cole Strange Farragut Air Force HUDL
Zachary Williams Seymour Alderson Broaddus HUDL
Matthew McClurg Alcoa Appalachian State University HUDL
Mitchell McClurg Alcoa Appalachian State University HUDL
Bryson Stephens Morristown East Army HUDL
Matthew Gayle Fulton Austin Peay HUDL
*Carter Phillipy Farragut Austin Peay (walk-on) HUDL
Gorel Soumare Jefferson County Austin Peay HUDL
Kentel Williams Fulton Austin Peay HUDL
John Langley Harriman Bethel HUDL
Jacob Naumoff Farragut Bethel HUDL
Jordan Brooks McMinn Central Carson-Newman HUDL
Jess Bumgardner Anderson County Carson-Newman HUDL
Cole Fritts Loudon Carson-Newman HUDL
Spencer Holt Cosby Carson-Newman HUDL
Spencer Jefferies Bearden Carson-Newman HUDL
Austin Kirby Grace Christian Carson-Newman HUDL
Matt Lane Cosby Carson-Newman HUDL
Devante Matthews Sevier County Carson-Newman HUDL
Hayden Moore Jefferson County Carson-Newman HUDL
Jordan Seal Morristown East Carson-Newman HUDL
Tyler Thackerson Clinton Carson-Newman HUDL
Logan Townsend Jefferson County Carson-Newman HUDL
Jacob Varney Jefferson County Carson-Newman HUDL
Noah Whaley Pigeon Forge Carson-Newman HUDL
Joseph Wampler Lenoir City Carson-Newman HUDL
Jonathan Decker Alcoa Chattanooga HUDL
Calvin Smith Morristown West Coastal Carolina HUDL
Dorian Banks Sevier County Coffeyville CC HUDL
Brandon Manis Halls College of the Canyons HUDL
Tanner Thomas Farragut Columbia HUDL
Ben Hoffman Farragut Eastern Kentucky HUDL
Eddie Gajardo Greeneville ETSU HUDL
J.D Griffin Sevier County ETSU HUDL
Austin Howard Carter ETSU HUDL
Lakin McCall Maryville ETSU HUDL
Nick Payne Greeneville ETSU HUDL
Austin Rowan Catholic ETSU HUDL
Caleb Woody Alcoa ETSU HUDL
Bo Layton CAK Furman HUDL
Cam Jones Bearden Hutchinson Community College HUDL
Joe Kimber Fulton Hutchinson Community College HUDL
Dustin Clabough Alcoa Kennesaw State HUDL
Hunter Fox Farragut Lindsey Wilson HUDL
Cameron Malone Maryville Maryville College HUDL
Colton Murrell Maryville Maryville College HUDL
Chandler Viscardis The King’s Academy Maryville College HUDL
Kelby Brock Maryville Mercer HUDL
Treyton Peters Harriman Middle Tennessee State HUDL
Darel Middleton Oak Ridge Mississippi Gulf Coast CC HUDL
Kyle Broome Heritage Missouri Baptist HUDL
Jaylen Minefield Seymour Morehead State HUDL
Ryan Louallen Seymour Ohio Dominican HUDL
Devin Harper Karns Oklahoma State HUDL
*Andrew Craig Webb Tennessee (walk-on) HUDL
Austin Pope CAK Tennessee HUDL
Logan Punch Catholic Tennessee (walk-on) HUDL
Alex Alcorn Oak Ridge Tennessee Tech HUDL
Jamal Ashley Seymour Union College HUDL
Jordan Hornung Sevier County Union College HUDL
Cale Brock Anderson County University of the Cumberlands HUDL
Kaleb Dople Jellico University of the Cumberlands HUDL
Jorden Hammond Jellico University of the Cumberlands HUDL
Brett Jolley Lenoir City University of the Cumberlands HUDL
Bryson Knight Greeneville University of the Cumberlands HUDL
Hunter Miniard Sevier County University of the Cumberlands HUDL
**Deuce Wallace Sevier County Vanderbilt HUDL
Ryan Clark Alcoa Virginia Military Institute HUDL
DeAndre Delaney Morristown West Wake Forest HUDL
Bailey Byrum Sweetwater Western Carolina HUDL

Record-setting WR Devante Matthews commits to Carson-Newman for two sports

Record-setting Sevier County High School wide receiver Devante Matthews announced Sunday on his Twitter account he has committed to play football and baseball at Carson-Newman University.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder caught a school-record 102 passes for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns last season, helping the Smoky Bears finish as Class 5A state runners-up.

He also rushed for seven TDs and threw two more to earn all-state and All-PrepXtra first-team honors. His crescendos came when he secured the No. 1 and later No. 3 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s “Top 10” for one-handed catches against Cocke County and Morristown West, respectively.

On the baseball field, Matthews earned All-PrepXtra second-team honors as a junior after finishing 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 58.1 innings pitched.


Maryville OL Lakin McCall commits to ETSU

Maryville High School senior offensive lineman Lakin McCall committed to East Tennessee State University on Sunday, just hours after receiving a scholarship offer from the Football Championship Subdivision program.

“I just felt like ETSU was a good fit for me,” McCall told the News Sentinel on Sunday. “I really liked the campus and the team. I feel like I can well there. ”

McCall earned all-state and first-team All-PrepXtra honors after helping Maryville finish as state runner-up in Class 6A this past season. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder was a three-year starter for the Rebels, playing a role in two state championships.

ETSU on Sunday became the first school from the first FCS program to offer McCall a scholarship. He also held an offer from Carson-Newman, which competes in Division II.

McCall projects as an offensive guard at ETSU.

“They just think that I can really contribute to the team,” McCall said. “They like how physical I am.”


All-American Ben Hoffman commits to Eastern Kentucky

Ben Hoffman, an Under Armour All-American long snapper from Farragut High School, announced on Sunday his commitment to Eastern Kentucky University.

Hoffman earned All-PrepXtra second-team honors this past season after helping Farragut advance to the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior doubled as a standout defensive lineman for the Admirals, but will transition full-time as a long snapper in college.

He earned his spot in the Under Armour All-America Game via a Kohl’s Kicking Camp in Wisconsin last July, snapping against approximately 60 of the country’s best at the position.

He entered the game, played Jan. 2, 2016, in Orlando, Fla., without a scholarship offer.

EKU became the first to offer Hoffman a full scholarship when it did so on Sunday. He also had preferred walk-on offers from Michigan, Illinois, Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas.

Send PrepXtra your signing day photos

National signing day for football, soccer and men’s water polo begins Wednesday.

Okay. So there aren’t many water polo standouts in the PrepXtra coverage area, if any. But football and soccer stars are aplenty. So as you’re snapping photos to celebrate the occasion, think of the News Sentinel.

We want your photos.

Simply send via Twitter or by email a copy of your signing day photo, and we will use it in an area-only photo gallery of signees that will be published on

Here’s what we need: The photo accompanied by a caption listing all individuals in the picture and their relationship to the player signing.

For example: Chris Thomas of the Knoxville News Sentinel poses for a picture with sports editor Phil Kaplan, left, assistant sports editor Steve Trosky, middle, and executive editor Jack McElroy, right, during a ceremony at KNS on Wednesday in Knoxville, Tenn. Thomas signed a national letter of intent with John Doe University.

Let’s not kid ourselves. John Doe University probably recruited me as an unpreferred walk-on. Better yet, a water boy (did I mention I have blazing 5.7 speed in the 40-yard dash?).

Either way, you get the point.

You can submit photos by emailing, or by tagging @PrepXtra on either Twitter or the PrepXtra Facebook page. Just remember to send us the cutline information with as much detail as possible.

Basketball games rescheduled because of inclement weater

The following is a list of games rescheduled because of last week’s wintry weather:

Anderson County at Gibbs: Moved to Jan. 25
Sunbright at Oliver Springs: Jan. 25
Donelson Christian at Webb:  Jan. 27
Tellico Plains at Meigs County: Jan. 28
Pigeon Forge at Cosby: Jan. 28
Oakdale at Jellico: Jan. 28
Powell at Oak Ridge:  Jan. 28
Central at Karns: Jan. 28
CAK at Alcoa:  Jan. 30
Cumberland Gap at Greeneville:  Jan. 30.
West at Hardin Valley: Feb. 1
Oakdale at Midway:  Feb. 1
Mt. Juliet Christian at Webb: Feb. 3
Austin-East at Pigeon Forge: Feb. 4
Northview Academy at Greenback – Feb. 4
Cocke County at Seymour: Feb. 4
Oneida at Coalfield: Feb. 4
William Blount at Lenoir City: Feb. 4
West Greene at Grainger: Feb. 6
Grace Christian at Rockwood: Feb. 8
Oliver Springs at Kingston: Feb. 8
Morristown West at South-Doyle: Feb. 8
Washburn at Northview: Feb. 9
McMinn County at Walker Valley: Feb. 10
Fulton at West: Feb. 10
McMinn Central at Loudon: Feb. 11
Sequoyah at Sweetwater: Feb. 11
Sevier County at Cherokee: Feb. 11
Carter at Union County: Feb. 11
Cosby at Berean Christian: Feb. 11
Farragut at Bearden: Feb. 12
Midway at Monterey: Feb. 13
Kingston at Harriman: Feb. 15
Grace Christian at Catholic: Cancelled

Postponed to Date Not Yet Determined

McMinn County at East Ridge
Scott at Catholic
Chuckey-Doak at Claiborne
Halls at Clinton
Greenback at Concord Christian
Clarkrange at Oneida

Sweetwater’s Bailey Byrum commits to Western Carolina

Bailey Byrum, an all-state offensive lineman from Sweetwater High School, announced his commitment to Western Carolina on Sunday.

The 6-foot-7, 300-pound senior revealed the news on his Twitter account.

Byrum is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports Composite. He’s considered the No. 124 offensive tackle in the nation, and the No. 26 overall player in Tennessee for the 2016 class.

He helped Sweetwater reach the Class 2A state playoffs this past season. Western Carolina competes in the Football Championship Subdivision.