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Overstreet, Sayner to compete at WKU

By Daniel Paulling dpaulling@paducahsun.com

Derik Overstreet and Evan Sayner will continue the McCracken County-Paducah Tilghman rivalry for a few more years.

The two seniors - Overstreet attends Tilghman, Sayner goes to McCracken - signed Wednesday to play defensive end at Western Kentucky. Each said he was told he'd have a chance to play his freshman year, meaning one's playing time could come at the other's expense.

Overstreet is, by a slim margin, the higher-regarded recruit. 247Sports ranked him the No. 20 prospect in Kentucky, Sayner 24th. But Sayner, at 6 feet 4 and 250 pounds, stands an inch taller and weighs 20 pounds more than Overstreet.

The differences end there. Both fell in love with Western Kentucky after visiting on his junior day, both could move to a different position eventually, and both believe the Hilltoppers are trending upward despite losing head coach Bobby Petrino to Louisville after going 8-4 last season.

"Hopefully we continue that and improve on that," Sayner said. "It's a nice challenge that we have in front of us to do better."

Overstreet - who had 130 tackles, including 72 solo and 44 for a loss, one blocked field goal and one forced fumble - could move to defensive tackle if he keeps gaining weight or to linebacker eventually. He chose Western Kentucky over offers from UT Martin and SIU-Carbondale because of the system the Hilltoppers run and for his intended major of sports management.

"Derik is the type of athlete that a coach dreams about," former Blue Tornado football coach Randy Wyatt said. "He doesn't give you problems on the field or off the field. Derik has all the intangibles to be very successful at the collegiate level."

McCracken County head coach Jack Haskins echoed Wyatt when describing Sayner, who turned down an offer from Austin Peay and becomes the first former Lone Oak player since Jamarielle Brown in 2009 to sign with an FBS program. Brown finished his career at Western Kentucky last fall.

"(Sayner's) one of those kids that plays hard every play," Haskins said. "He's got the ability. That's not going to be a problem. Everything he did was freaking good."

Both players are excited to start their Hilltoppers career. But don't expect the rivalry of their two schools to come between them.

"Hopefully we can put that aside and become teammates," Sayner said. "It's going to be nice having somebody up there that I know. It'll be pretty cool on the defensive side of the ball when we're seniors playing together."

Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.

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