Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
It was yet another successful signing day for the Middle Tennessee Lady Raiders as they signed four players to National Letters of Intent for enrollment beginning in the 2018-19 season.
Three of the players are from Tennessee, including twin standouts Amanda and Alexis Whittington coming from local and national powerhouse Riverdale High School. Joining them in the class is Oak Ridge High School’s Mykia Dowdell, a 5’8″ guard that head coach Rick Insell believes is “one of the best athletes in the country.”
Rounding out the quartet is Taylor Sutton, the lone commit from outside the state of Tennessee. Sutton hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and played her high school career at Greater Atlanta Christian School.
In his career at Middle Tennessee, Insell has had many great classes and has recruited some great players such as Alex Johnson, Ty Petty, Brea Edwards and Jadona Davis, among others. Even with past success, he believes that this class could be one of the best yet.
“I am extremely pleased with this class,” Insell said. “I am excited to have these young ladies and their families as part of the Lady Raider program.”
Amanda and Alexis Whittington
In their time at Riverdale, the Whittington sisters helped the Warriors add two more TSSAA 3A titles and a national championship to the school’s already long list of accomplishments.
The two are also very decorated individual players as well. Alexis hit the 1,000-point mark in only three seasons and has a Region 4-AAA MVP to her name, while Amanda has been named to the All-State Tournament team twice and the All-Region 4-AAA team once. They are both all-around players who will improve the Lady Raiders in every facet of the game.
“You can see the same tendencies in both of them. They can shoot the ball extremely well,” Insell said. “I love that they are both Murfreesboro girls who wanted to stay close to home … Everything we talk about our program, they bought into right away.”
Dowdell has the credentials to be one of the next great Lady Raiders. Her current career marks of 1,329 points, 725 rebounds and 232 steals all rank in the top 20 in Oak Ridge history, and she has started 100 straight games.
“(Dowdell) is a tremendous athlete,” Insell said. “She has great hands. She has primarily played post in high school, but we would like to play her at (small forward).”
Dowdell will also have the familiarity of playing with the Whittington sisters, as they played together on the travel ball team Tennessee Flight.
Sutton is the lone commit from outside of Tennessee, but she is certainly one to watch in this class. While the others in the class can all play multiple positions, Insell got her for one reason and one reason only.
“She is a legitimate point guard, and we signed her to be a point guard,” Insell said. “We are very glad, and fortunate, to have a player with her qualities.”
In her career, Sutton averaged 15 points, eight assists and five steals. As far as what she could do for the Lady Raiders, Insell likened her to another former player, saying that she had a similar motor to Ty Petty.
In what could be one of his best classes in his career, Insell has solidified the Middle Tennessee program for years to come in Conference USA.