Pineville senior Tanner Mike has signed to continue his football career at Union College.
He split time between receiver and running back during his one season playing for the Mountain Lions and the Bulldogs are looking at him as both a change of pace back and a slot receiver.
Mike said it’s just a good feeling to know he’ll have the opportunity to play at the next level.
“It just feels great. Going from a little kid playing football my whole life, my dad coaching a lot of those years — It’s a big step for me and I feel like I’m ready to take that step,” he said.
Mike grew up in Middlesboro and learned to play under his father, Jeff, who helped coach his teams through youth ball, middle school and early in high school.
As a junior, he caught 36 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns for the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets and also ran for 319 yards and four scores. He transferred to Pineville before his senior year and caught 18 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns before switching full time to running back midway through the season and rushing for over 900 yards nine touchdowns.
He also played a big role as the trigger man in the Mountain Lions’ swinging gate two-point conversion offense. Mike converted 11 PATs out of the formation in 2012 as Pineville went 6-6 and won a play-off game.
“He’s a really great kid and was a great part of our program,” PHS coach Bart Elam said of Mike. “He helped us in a lot of ways, brought a lot of leadership and is as hard of a competitor as you’ll see. He really fit in well at Pineville both on the football team in the school. Like with all of any of our kids, I’m really proud to see him go on to the next level.”
Mike is considering a major in either psychology or speech pathology at Union.
“I’m looking forward to getting a good education. Football is big, but getting that education is what I really need to make money in life and do what I want to do,”he said.
Union College is coming off a 4-7 season. They open their 12th year under coach Tommy Reid on Aug 31 at the University of the Cumberlands.