By Trevor Terminie / Journalism student
The Tannehills are a household name within the Oxford area. One of them, however, seems destined to make his name known across the country.
Jack Tannehill, a senior at Oxford High School and son of Oxford mayor Robyn Tannehill, has recently been named a 2020 MaxPreps Football Second Team All-American as a placekicker. The Class of 2021 Southern Miss signee is in rarified air, joining current Seattle Seahawk and former Ole Miss and Oxford High School receiver DK Metcalf as the only Oxford natives to be named to one of these teams.
“I was crazy ecstatic (when I found out), and I just stared at it for a half-hour,” Tannehill said. “To finally accomplish that goal is just incredible.”
Tannehill, who has started for varsity every year, finished his high school career converting on 43 of 57 field goals, with his longest being 48 yards. What is even more incredible is out of 133 career extra-point attempts, he only missed one.
Even with all his personal accomplishments, Tannehill’s selflessness has always shown through, as he attributes coaching to his success.
“I have worked with a lot of personal coaches, and all my skills come from them,” Tannehill said. “I would not have been able to work with them without my dad. Also, a lot of credit goes to my coaches who put me in the game and allowed me to kick field goals.”
Tannehill’s skills have given him a future in college football at USM as he looks to continue his kicking success.
“I’m excited to leave Oxford and try something new,” Tannehill said. “I’ve met a lot of guys from my signing class and am excited to play with them. There is nothing I’m not excited about.”
Chris Cutcliffe, head coach of the Oxford Chargers, did not seem surprised to hear the news and is happy that his kicker’s accomplishments have been recognized.
“My initial reaction was to think how deserved he was because of the work he puts into his craft,” Cutcliffe said. “Nobody outworks Jack Tannehill.”
Cutcliffe noted the importance of the points Tannehill tallied and his ability to change the game in one kick, but the intangibles that Tannehill accomplished were just as important.
“The thing that does not show up as much in the stat sheet is how much he helped us win the field position battle,” Cutcliffe said.
The kicking position is not the most glamourous position on a football team, but Cutcliffe could not understate the importance Tannehill had on the entire team.
“Jack was a tremendous leader on our football team,” Cutcliffe said. “He was a member of our leadership council for two years and a team captain his senior year. He earned the respect from his teammates and coaches through his work ethic.”
Cutcliffe believes Tannehill’s future at USM is bright and looks forward to seeing him succeed in Division I Football.
“He is not done with his improvement,” Cutcliffe said. “Jack seeks to get better every time he steps foot on that field, so I know the best is yet to come.”
Arguably one of Tannehill’s biggest fans, his father Rhea Tannehill, expressed his excitement for his son’s accomplishment.
“It was very humbling,” Tannehill said. “It validates what I thought about his ability.”
Rhea Tannehill has loved every second of his son’s journey, and he looks forward to seeing him succeed in the future.
“He is very mentally tough, much more so than anyone at his age,” Tannehill said. “If he puts his mind to it, which I believe he will, he will excel. There is no question in my mind he will go to USM and make a lot of field goals.”