• Murphy's Slade McTaggart (seated, second from right) signed with Western Carolina University on Tuesday. Sitting with McTaggart is (from left): stepfather Bobby Elkins, mother Kristy McTaggart and grandmother Nancy McLain. Standing in back are Murphy offensive coordinator Joseph Watson (left) and brother Bailey McTaggart. Photo by Kevin Hensley
    Murphy's Slade McTaggart (seated, second from right) signed with Western Carolina University on Tuesday. Sitting with McTaggart is (from left): stepfather Bobby Elkins, mother Kristy McTaggart and grandmother Nancy McLain. Standing in back are Murphy offensive coordinator Joseph Watson (left) and brother Bailey McTaggart. Photo by Kevin Hensley

Murphy's McTaggart signs with Western Carolina

    Murphy – It was long overdue, but Slade McTaggart has finally made his post-Bulldogs plans.
    And good news, Murphy football fans: he’ll be close to home.
    The senior running back and linebacker signed as a preferred walk-on with the Western Carolina Catamounts on Tuesday morning, an NCAA Division I university in nearby Cullowhee.
    “It’s been long anticipated. Trying to find a home for the next four years was difficult,” McTaggart said. “But the recruiting process was something I enjoyed. I took a long shot in myself by choosing a D-1 program, kind of pushing off some of the smaller schools and it worked.”
    Also a former track and wrestling star, McTaggart opted to focus on his first love after his sophomore year, a season where Murphy won the first of two 1A state championships during McTaggart’s high school career.
    “As soon as I stepped on a field in Little League, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” McTaggart said. “Being able to turn on the TV and hear everybody talking about all of these college football players made it a dream for me to play college football.”
     Offers started coming in from schools such as Lenoir-Rhyne, North Carolina Wesleyan, Emory & Henry, Mars Hill and Brevard, but his decision to suit up for the Catamounts was made at an early age.    
    “I’ve always heard people talk about Western. We’ve had a lot of people go there from Murphy,” McTaggart said. “It’s close to home and going there, meeting the coaches and players made it feel like home.”
    McTaggart becomes the third Bulldogs football player to sign with Western in the past two years, as Joey Curry and Micah Nelson are already on-board. McTaggart is excited to join his teammates.
    “It’s going to be great,” McTaggart said. “I’ve been playing with these guys from Little League and it’s going to be fun playing with them again for the next three or four years.”
    As of now, McTaggart is undecided on a major.

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