By Les Dixon / Sports Editor
Corbin’s Matt Jewell made it official Wednesday by signing a letter of intent to play football for the University of the Cumberlands.
For Jewell, choosing the University of the Cumberlands was an easy decision.
“I like how close it was — I like that I was able to stay close to home,” he said. “But the big thing is they always have success down there and they have a great coaching staff. They treated me very good from Day One of my visit when I came down.
“They are very welcoming and made me feel like they wanted me to come down there and play,” he added. “And that really made me feel good. I want to start playing hopefully my freshman year on special teams and obviously, I want to get my four-year degree.”
After playing outside linebacker for the Redhounds, Jewell will have to change things up a bit coming into his freshman season as a Patriot.
“I’m looking at free safety right now,” he said. “That’s what they are wanting me to play. It’s different, but I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ve always wanted to play strong safety, so I feel like I can pick up on it quick.”
Cumberlands defensive coordinator Michael Collins believes Jewell will bring a lot to the table for the Patriot defense.
“We’ve been able to watch him throughout the years and we’ve been really impressed with him,” he said. “He’s a great football player and growing up with his father being a coach, I know he knows the game of football really well. You can see it in the way he plays.
“He’s going to fit in great with us,” Collins added. “We are really excited getting Matt. One of the things that we expect out of our free safeties is to know the defense. Knowing that he knows the game of football, I feel like he’s going to be able to fit in that spot. He’s basically going to be the quarterback of the defense. I feel like that will be a natural fit for him. He’s a good tackler and I feel like it will be a great fit for him.”
And so does Jewell’s dad, Steve, who has coached him the past four years.
“This is great for Matt,” Steve Jewell said. “He’s always worried about his size, but he’s really worked hard to get to this point and to overcome his size. I really appreciate the University of the Cumberlands giving him this opportunity.
“Matt is one of these people that sets high goals,” he added. “He’s disappointed just like a lot of our kids were about how our season ended and he wants to go back and try to prove something again. I think he’s trying to carry a torch, so to speak.”