Cubs’ Burr signs with Cumberland
by Nick Birdsong
nbirdsong@annistonstar.com
May 15, 2012 | 3842 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Unless you’re one of those old-school heads who reads the paper at the crack of dawn every morning with a cup of coffee in hand, chances are Alexandria’s Tyler Burr has already signed his college scholarship.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior was set to render his John Hancock on an offer to play football at Cumberland University (Tenn.) at a ceremony in the high school’s gym at 9 a.m. today.

The three-sport star chose Cumberland, which plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, over an offer from Shorter College (Ga.). He also had an invitation to walk on at Jacksonville State University.

“I took a visit there and it was just a beautiful campus about 15 or 20 minutes outside Nashville, Tennessee,” Burr said. “I’ve lived in Alexandria all my life and it’s (Lebanon, Tenn.) is a small town too. It’s the next step up from high school football. It’s not a big school, but I love football.”

Burr was a first-team selection to The Star’s Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County team after leading the Valley Cubs with 81 tackles, five forced fumbles and three interceptions this past fall. He also played wide receiver and could play either spot in college.

Burr said Cumberland began recruiting him late during basketball season. After the Valley Cubs’ 55-50 upset of Anniston in the first round of the Class 4A, Area 10 basketball tournament, he had a missed call and voicemail from Buddy Brown, the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach.

Burr said Brown is friends with Hoover football coach Josh Niblett, who told the coach of his nephew’s talents.

“Alexandria’s had a lot of great football players come through here,” Burr said. “I’m just glad to be one of the one’s that’s gotten the chance to go on and play for four more years.”

• North-South Football: Piedmont football coach Steve Smith was chosen to head up the North squad in the annual North-South game as part of the AHSAA’s All-Star Sports Week this summer.

This year’s game is scheduled for July 12th in Montgomery.

He’ll be joined by slew of talent from Calhoun County, including one of his own.

Piedmont wide receiver Sloan Garner, a recent Gadsden State Community College basketball signee, was one of several local players chosen to participate in the contest.

Garner was a first-team selection to the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 3A all-state squad with 36 catches for 597 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Other choices include Anniston offensive lineman Dontavius Blair, a first-team selection to the Class 4A all-state squad and Garden City Community College (Kan.) signee. Oxford wide receiver/defensive back Coty Spurling, a first-team pick to the Class 6A all-state team and North Alabama signee, will be joined by teammates defensive tackle Dez Swink and Monte Bass.

Swink and Bass signed with Coahoma Community College (Miss.) on national signing day.

• Bringing the Payne: Former Ranburne softball standout Katy Payne recently completed a successful freshman season on the diamond at Faulkner State. Chosen to The Star’s Diamond Dazzler’s squad as a senior, she batted .368 for the Lady Sun Chiefs this past season and .556 in the Alabama Community College Conference state tournament. She also received all-state, regional and first-team all-conference honors.

Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.