National Signing Day saw eight Cleveland High athletes put their "John Hancocks" to collegiate scholarship papers to continue their playing careers.Four members of the Lady Raider volleyball team, …
National Signing Day saw eight Cleveland High athletes put their "John Hancocks" to collegiate scholarship papers to continue their playing careers.
Four members of the Lady Raider volleyball team, which has a pair of Top 6 finishes at the TSSAA State Tournament, plus a Sectional run, in the past three seasons, will be taking to the court on the junior college level.
All-Stater Anna Renshaw is heading to play for nationally-ranked Wallace State (Ala.), while teammates Lydia Martin, Madeline Dasher and Cyndey Brock are staying local to join the emerging Cleveland State program.
Also, four Blue Raider football players accepted offers to continue the gridiron grind on either the NCAA FCS, D-II or NAIA levels.
David Dorsey and Alex Williams will continue to be teammates at Tennessee State University, while Alex Higgins is heading to Carson-Newman and Victor Dodd to the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.).
The octet recently completed standout prep careers at Cleveland and are hoping for continued athletic success as they continue their educations.
Renshaw was a four-year starter for Coach Trish Flowers' Lady Raiders, helping the team to the program's first two TSSAA State Championship berths in 2016 and '17. Cleveland almost made a third straight trip this past season, falling to Middle Tennessee powerhouse Siegel by a total of six points in the substate round.
Although she made the Tennessee Sports Writer Association's Class AAA All-State Team as an outside hitter, Renshaw is versatile player that never leaves the court.
Selected as the District 5-AAA Player of the Year this past season, as well as being a three-time All-Region 3 and All-District 5 performer, she helped lead Cleveland to three straight District 5-AAA titles.
Along with a powerful slam ability, Renshaw was also the main setter for the Lady Raiders, serving up 528 assists and 444 service points, with 51 aces. The 5-foot-8 leaper also smashed 343 kills, had 322 digs, 29 blocks and a 91 IPE. In her final match against Siegel in the substate, she had 26 digs, 25 assists, 22 service points, 14 kills and a pair of blocks for a 98 IPE.
Along with playing for the Lady Raiders and being a basketball cheerleader, Renshaw also plays for the nationally-ranked C4 Explosive club volleyball team.
One of only three Lady Raiders to ever make an all-state volleyball team, Renshaw will be joining a Lady Lion program that went 33-9 this past season and advanced to their 10th straight (18 overall) NJCAA National Tournament. Wallace State is located in Hanceville, Ala., about midway between Huntsville and Birmingham.
Joining the Cleveland State team for its third season with be Martin, Dasher and Brock. New Lady Cougar head coach Alizabeth Atnip is having to replace nine graduating sophomores, with former Walker Valley standout Aly Lemons as the lone freshman on the current roster.
Martin is a defensive specialist, with 401 digs and 678 service receptions, plus posted 375 service points, including 23 aces, from her libero position. She also handed out 21 assists and had an 88 IPE.
Dasher is a 5-foot-11 outside hitter with 72 kills and 15 blocks to go with 107 digs, 323 service points and 57 aces for an 88 IPE as well.
Brock is a 6-foot middle blocker/hitter who collected 45 kills, 33.5 blocks and 23 digs.
"This is a very special group of seniors," proclaimed former Cleveland coach Trish Flowers, who is now leading the Siegel program. "These girls have been together since the sixth grade. They have worked very hard and helped turn us into a state tournament caliber program over the last few years."
On the gridiron, Dorsey was the Region 2-6A Defensive Player of the Year and a quarterback's worst nightmare.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back intercepted six passes through the first six weeks off the season, and forced two fumbles (recovering one) over the final four games.
Dorsey finished with 20 solo tackles in 42 total hits, including a pair behind the line of scrimmage, as well as several pass deflections.
He also had interest from Middle Tennessee, as well as other colleges, after forcing 12 takeaways the past two seasons. He also had a 71-yard punt return touchdown at Knox Catholic where he literally juked out of his shoe and scored while racing away with only one cleat still on.
Joining Dorsey in Nashville on the NCAA FCS team will be Williams, a two-sport athlete who plays for the fifth-ranked Blue Raider basketball team as well as the football squad.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior offensive tackle helped lead the way for a Raider offense that gained 1,583 on the ground, plus another 1,696 through the air for a total 3,279. Cleveland scored 275 points while going 4-6 on the season, falling to Farragut in the opening round of the playoffs.
An All-Region 2-6A performer, Higgins is heading to Jefferson City to soar with the NCAA D-II Eagles.
The 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive lineman had eight solos tackles, 36 assists, four tackles for loss and a fumble reco very during the season, plus a quarterback sack against Farragut in an opening round playoff game.
Dodd helped the Raiders on both side of the line of scrimmage, finding the end zone a half dozen times in four different fashions during his senior campaign.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pounder with 4.7 speed in the 40 yard dash, scored a pair of touchdowns on kickoff returns and had a 41-yard "Pick 6."
On offense, he carried the ball just seven times in short yeardage situations, gaining only 20 yards, but finding paydirt twice. He also caught a pair of passes for 26 yards and a score.
From his defensive end position, Dodd was in on 32 total hits, with 10 of those tackles throwing ball carriers for loss yardage. He also trapped a trio of opposing quarterbacks for sacks.
Despite missing the first two games of the season with an ankle injury Dodd, who had a trio of sacks in 40 tackles as a junior, made his presence known when he returned to the line up.
Dodd is joining a Patriot program that turned many heads in 2018, finishing the year with a 10-2 record and earning a bid to the NAIA Football Championship Series for the first time since 2013. Located in Williamsburg, Ky., UC was ranked 12th in the final NAIA Top 25 poll.
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