Elizabethton Cyclone Jarread Whitehead has always been use to applying stinging shots to the opposing team and this fall Whitehead will continue to bury deep stings on anyone carrying the ball as a member of Coach Don Montgomery's Emory and Henry Wasp football team.
Whitehead made that official on Friday at Elizabethton High School before a large contingency of family and well-wishers in the school's Common's Area.
With Emory and Henry being around a hour from Elizabethton, the school was a perfect fit for the former Cyclone defensive end and offensive center.
"I wanted to have as many people come and cheer me on as possible," said a smiling Whitehead after the signing. "I'd like to have a bunch of people come and watch me while cheering on my team.
"I've worked my whole life to go play football in college and get an education. Getting to go to the next level is exciting. I loved the campus, the teachers, the football staff -- everything they had there I really loved."
Former head coach Shawn Witten said that the Wasp football program is not only getting a quality athlete, they are getting a quality individual.
"Jarread is an unbelievable person," said Witten. "His hard work definitely paid off. He did everything we asked him to do here at Elizabethton on the field and off the field. No better person deserves this today.
"He has the total package -- character, attitude, and commitment. Jarread will fit into any package they have there and will be a great impact player for Emory and Henry."
Whitehead said that being a member of the Cyclones was a tremendous part of why he was able to achieve his life-long goal.
"With the weight program here and all the coaches teaching us the right techniques and formations has really been a huge asset," added Whitehead. "Everything we did here, I will be doing at the college level. It's a college-style program here only at the high school level.
"I have always heard about Emory and Henry and look forward to playing for Coach Montgomery."
Of all the people present at Friday's signing, there wasn't a prouder person present than Whitehead's father, Terry.
"It's a dream come true for all of us," added the Whitehead patriarch. "It's a perfect example that hard work does pay off.
"Jarread has always worked hard on the field and weight room. It's one of the first door's to open for him and it will pay off for him with hopefully a couple more opening as well. He'll get a good quality education and will be close to home
"Emory and Henry's coaching staff was real persistent and professional. They followed up with him really well. We also appreciate CSA Prep Star helping to get his name out there. We just got in during his senior year, but they really helped to get his profile out there."
The close proximity of the school weighed heavily in Whitehead's decision.
"It's huge knowing my family will be there because that's a huge confidence booster," added Whitehead. "On Sunday's I can drive back home and go to church then drive back to campus so I won't be totally excluded from my family.
Whitehead will join senior Wasp and friend Adam Buck, who graduated from Happy Valley, at the Virginia campus.
"He's an outside linebacker for his senior season," said Whitehead. "He'll help me a lot on the techniques of an outside linebacker."
Whitehead could see time at the outside backer slot or at defensive end based upon what the Wasp need when practice begins.
It really doesn't matter to Whitehead, a captain on this past season's Border Wars All-Star team matching Tennessee and Kentucky all-star football players against one another.
He has faced challenge after challenge as a Cyclone moving from tight end to defensive end to center.
Whitehead just wants to be on the field doing what he loves best -- playing football.