Home sweet home.
Athens seniors Nathan Sims and Drew Horn will join fellow seniors Karlie Cook and Mimi McCollister just down the road at Trinity Valley Community College in the fall.
“That is awesome and we are coming from the same high school to the same college to play sports,” Horn said. “You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Sims and Horn are the second and third Athens football signees to head to a junior college program.
“It is going to be awesome going to play on the same field and a new uniform,” Horn said. “I got the same teammate coming from the same team. We will get to have some new experiences with new players and it will be fun and I can’t wait.”
Earlier this year, Connor Clay signed with the Tyler Junior College Apaches during the National Signing Day period.
“This is a special time and anytime we got guys that continue their athletic career, we want to be sure to honor them,” Athens athletic director Zac Harrell said. “We had one for the guys earlier who had committed and one on Thursday so we wanted to make sure we had a ceremony for these guys because they deserve it.”
Sims finished his senior season with 74 carries for 689 yards with 11 touchdowns. He had two receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown before a season ending injury in his fifth game of the year.
Sims said the transition to TVCC feels right after dealing with camps and other events in knowing Sherard Poteete wanted him at the Valley. He will continue to play running back at TVCC.
“He was talking to me before I got injured and after the injury so that really meant a lot to me,” Sims said. “It is a good route to go since I have known him my whole life.”
Sims said even after the injury, Harrell continued to talk with Poteete about keeping him in Athens and being a part of Cardinal nation.
“He (Harrell) has been here the whole time asking me what day do you want to sign,” Sims said. “I was glad this was the most available day I could have this month because it is on a Monday. He has talked with coach Poteete about me and has been a real help and I appreciate him a lot.”
Sims capped off the week after being named the Co-Hornet award winner for football at the athletic banquet May 4.
“It has been challenging getting everything ready after that football season,” Sims said. “I have been trying to hit the gym as much as possible and get some running in. It will be a rude awakening after doing nothing for three months with rehab. It is hard to get back in the groove so I got to keep pushing.”
Sims said during rehab, he had a chance to get to see the Cardinals play at Bruce Field and knows the competition is something he is ready for at the next level.
“I like a challenge so I want to stay in that level and keep myself in that level,” Sims said. “I want to keep myself in an environment that I know is not going to be easy to succeed in. I like the level of intensity that they bring.”
There is already a game Sims said he is ready to play in and that is when they face the Apaches and Connor Clay’s new team.
“When you think about it, Connor and I always had a competition in football growing up so it will be the same way in college,” Sims said. “He will be like, we are going to beat you and I got the same attitude towards him.”
Horn finished his senior year at outside linebacker with 52 tackles, 27 of them being solo tackles, with one pass breakup, three fumbles caused, two fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown.
“You look at Drew and when he was younger he was always an offensive player,” Harrell said. “We got here and asked him to play defense and he bought into that. A lot of players that had played running back and had success would have bucked at that and Drew didn’t bat an eye. He did whatever we asked him to do.”
For Horn, the week was capped off after being named the Athens High School Male Athlete of the Year and the Hornet award winner for track at the athletic banquet May 4.
“I can’t even wrap it up in a week,” Horn said. “It is a great way to end off a year after all of this COVID stuff and getting my track season canceled and missing two of my football games because of COVID. Now to end it off with the two awards and the signing with TVCC is big.”
Horn said you may not see him at linebacker the next two years and he is ready for wherever defensive coordinator Will Reed wants him on the field.
“I think it might be a position change,” Horn said. “I will play wherever he needs me and I will play lineman if I need to. It will probably be a position change with the height and the weight.
“The new competition is a fun thing to do. Sometimes with the high school it doesn’t really get boring, but this new competition will be big guys, harder hitters and faster guys so it will be a new challenge.”
Horn said seeing how Sims has bounced back since his injury in the fifth game of the football season is big to get the scholarship to TVCC.
“It is awesome because not a lot of football players can bounce back from a bad injury like that,” Horn said. “The fact that he was able to get a college scholarship out of that is awesome. I am proud of him and he has gone a long ways to get to the next level.”