By Dan McWilliams
Knoxville Catholic High School hosted its second “National Signing Day” event of the 2022-23 school year Dec. 21 in the St. Gregory the Great Auditorium as three standout student-athletes signed with universities.
Held on the football early signing day, the event saw Fighting Irish place kicker Brock Taylor sign with Vanderbilt University and defensive lineman Trevor Duncan sign with the University of Tennessee. Volleyball outside hitter Blair Cherry signed with Carson-Newman University.
Brock is one of the state’s top kickers and had committed to Vanderbilt earlier in the year.
“It feels really good,” he said of his decision. “Today’s kind of like a surreal day, just making everything official, and I can’t wait to get to Nashville in the spring.”
He explained his choice of the Commodores’ program.
“The coaching staff is the best I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Coach [Justin] Lustig, the special teams coordinator, is like a GOAT [greatest of all time] in the special teams game. The whole staff is turning the whole program around in the right direction. It’s somewhere I wanted to be. Everything they said, they were firm about stuff moving in the right direction.”
KCHS prepared him well for Vanderbilt, Brock said.
“Knoxville Catholic’s been great for me,” he said. “Since I transferred here at the start of my sophomore year, I’ve nothing but good things to say about it. The teachers, the coaching staff, everything, the athletic director, Mr. [Dickie] Sompayrac—our president—my counselors. Everyone is just always willing to help. It’s been challenging at times with the academic parts, but it’s made me keep my grades solid. They’ve done everything right for me. I love Knoxville Catholic.”
Trevor said he was glad to remain in Knoxville for his college days.
“It means a lot, staying in town,” he said.
He praised UT’s defensive line coach.
“I loved the coaches,” Trevor said. “Rodney Garner helped me to develop the best I can.”
Trevor said he “had some great coaches” at KCHS.
“They really helped develop me,” he said. “Robert Ayers really helped me.”
Blair called the signing day “truly special.”
“I’m really excited. I’m just super happy and can’t believe it,” she said.
Carson-Newman’s volleyball team will use her in a different position, Blair said.
“In college I’m going to be a setter. I’m just going to go and compete and try to get playing time,” she said.
Blair said Carson-Newman “just felt like it was right” when she went on a visit there. Plus, her sister, Blake, plays for the Eagles.
“That’s where my older sister goes to school right now, so I’ll be able to play with her next year,” she said.
KCHS volleyball head coach Brent Carter helped prepare her for the next level, Blair said.
“I transferred here in junior year,” she said. “The volleyball here is just so much more aggressive, and Coach Brent is awesome.”