BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Cole McBrayer, a graduating senior football, boys’ basketball and track athlete at Tennessee High School.
Tennessee High athletics will look a lot different this year without Cole McBrayer.
“We’re still communicating I saw Cole the other day out driving around, it’s just strange he’s not gonna be around anymore he’s been a staple of our program,” Tennessee High head boys’ basketball coach Roby Witcher said.
McBrayer was the starting quarterback on the football team that won the region last year.
“I was really pleased with how we performed we had a good group of guys we did exactly what we wanted to do so I’m glad about how things went,” McBrayer said.
“When he did some things with the football, throwing or running he made things happen you look at our record last year and the quarterback play we had out of him the points that we scored offensively it all leads back to Cole,” Tennessee High head football coach Mike Mays said.
Then, Cole was a key piece on a talented Vikings basketball team.
“I was pretty happy with how the basketball season went I wish we could have done more like postseason we didn’t go as far as we thought we could but I was pleased with it we had some big wins over Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett so I was pretty pleased with our season,” McBrayer said.
“It’s over about a three year period I think that we can talk about Cole because he started for me since he was a sophomore and he was a very reliable scorer and just a great playmaker and teammate but as this year progressed he became a leader,” Witcher said.
Leadership became McBrayer’s identity, something he learned when all eyes were on him as the starting quarterback.
“Me being the quarterback I was expected to lead the team and lead by example and kinda motivate the guys through practice and through games,” McBrayer said.
“I don’t want anyone to think that he was football football football and then stepped on the basketball floor, he’s coming into the gym during football season on the days they had a lighter practice, Mondays at 6am he’d be right there in the gym shooting,” Witcher said.
But after great seasons in football and basketball, McBrayer has unfortunately ran into some bad luck. His third sport was track, and was expected to have a strong senior season before the pandemic ended those hopes.
“Yeah track was always the sport that I was always looking forward to competing with myself and seeing how fast I could be and just having fun with all my friends so it was a bummer that we didn’t get to have a season,” McBrayer said.
McBrayer signed to Emory and Henry to play football, but the Wasps pushed all fall sports to the spring, which leaves his freshman year at the collegiate level in question.
“It was kinda deflating to hear the news that it wouldn’t be in the fall as usual, but I’m thankful I get to at least be on campus and hopefully be in the weight room and get ready for hopefully a spring,” McBrayer said.
McBrayer is a positive guy, something he found in his faith and brought to all aspects of his life.
“Just try to live in the way that Jesus did so yeah I was really involved with FCA at school and different clubs like that I went on a couple mission trips,” McBrayer said.
“Yeah I don’t worry about Cole staying positive he’s gonna turn everything positive anyway, he’s not gonna wow you with his size but the size of his heart and his competitiveness the coaches are gonna see it up at Emory,” Mays said.
After a stellar high school career, Bristol, Tennessee knows he still has some big days ahead of him.
“He was just a steady guy you knew what you were gonna get in practice you knew what you were gonna get in games and in pressure situations he would just step up both on the football field and on the basketball court he will be sorely missed,” Witcher said.
“I’m lucky enough that I’ll be able to get to see family almost every week they’ll be able to come up to all my games,” McBrayer said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.