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Middle Tennessee's top recruits
Photo by Jan Piatkowski / Unsplash

Middle Tennessee's top recruits

馃張 Middle TN's top recruits 路聽Transit unveiling 路 The death of ESAs 路聽Endless vacation 路 Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Thanks to all who came out for our happy hour on Friday. As always, a young, energetic, handsome, and intelligent crowd. Ten of you walked away with free passes to the Bitcoin Conference in July. The rest of you basked in the glory of a cool spring night. Everyone came away a winner in one way or another.

In other news, I saw Shane Gillis at the Ryman last night. Great show. A lot of jokes that I cannot repeat here. His humor is very much of the locker-room variety. I was shocked by how many men brought their wives and girlfriends. 

Onward.

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Welcome to your Mondays with Miles. With high school graduation season just around the corner, it鈥檚 time to take a look at some of the region鈥檚 top student-athletes that will be playing at the next level next season in football and basketball.

It鈥檚 no secret many are already focused on the 2025 football class coming out of our state, which features a generational talent in Brentwood Academy鈥檚 quarterback George MacIntyre. The depth and diversity of positions in next year鈥檚 class has SEC fans drooling.

Before the spotlight is fully turned to him and his brigade for their senior season, let鈥檚 not forget what Middle Tennessee has produced for the class of 2024. The area will send off six 4-star football recruits, per 247Sports, who will all suit up for Power 5 conference schools this fall.

Top 100 overall recruit, Elijah Groves out of East Robertson surprised many by picking North Carolina State as his collegiate destination. Some believe he has the tools to start immediately for the Wolfpack at linebacker for 2024. He is unquestionably a steal for the ACC school, who has been extremely consistent under Head Coach Dave Doeren, but has yet to break through to a New Year鈥檚 Six Bowl.

Ondre Evans from Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) joined Kirby Smart鈥檚 elite defense as a Cornerback for Georgia in January and participated in spring practice for the Dawgs. 247Sports Director of Scouting, Andrew Ivins, sees Evans as an explosive athlete with track-like speed. He has NFL upside and hits like a safety despite his lean build.

The Vols will also get a boost thanks to a pair of studs from this part of the state. Kaleb Beasley, CB, and Edwin Spillman, LB, who were high school teammates at Lipscomb Academy enrolled at UT in March to get their feet wet during spring ball. Neither is a projected starter at this point for the 2024 campaign but will add much needed depth to Tennessee鈥檚 defense.

On the hardwood, Tyler Tanner from Brentwood Academy will stay local by donning the black and gold for Vandy. Despite signing with the Dores when Jerry Stackhouse was at the helm, he has remained committed to the SEC team since Mark Byington was hired away from James Madison last month. Tanner will need to put on weight to be competitive as a point guard at the next level, but Byington is known for developing underrated talent while putting hard-nosed squads out on the floor.

Ladies, I did not forget about you either. As the cool kids like to say, 鈥淲hen it comes to Imari Berry.. she is 鈥榟er鈥!鈥 The soon-to-be Clarksville High grad was the center of attention on Saturday when she announced her commitment to Louisville. The 5-star prodigy had been committed to play for Clemson, but reopened her recruitment following a coaching shake up for the Tigers.

Berry is one of the best Girls鈥 Basketball prospects to ever come out of Middle Tennessee. The Cards hope she will be a starter from day one for the 2024-25 season and eventually lead them to their fifth Final Four in program history. AUSTIN MILES HARRINGTON

Nashville

馃殞 THE GREAT TRANSIT UNVEILING On Friday, Mayor O鈥機onnell  shared the particulars of his long-awaited transit improvement program. Titled 鈥淐hoose How You Move,鈥 the estimated $3.1 billion plan was vetted by 36 council members and two advisory committees over the last two months. It now awaits an audit by the comptroller before heading to the council to be approved for November鈥檚 ballot. Lisa Sherman-Luna, the executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, delivered opening remarks.

鈥淟ike so many immigrant families and so many families in Nashville, we were forced to make tough choices in order to put food on the table to get an education and to truly make Nashville our home,鈥 she said to the crowd gathered in the Southeast Community Center. 鈥淢ayor O'Connell's Choose How You Move plan will open up doors and opportunities for immigrant families who are making these tough choices every day.鈥

What we'll get: Around-the-clock public transportation, an accelerated bus service, upgrades on about 600 traffic signals, 86 miles of sidewalk, expanded bike lanes, an expansion of pedestrian crosswalks, and an upgraded and expanded WeGo bus system. Funding will also go towards the acquisition of land for housing and parks near dozens of new transit centers, plus a variety of anti-displacement and equity initiatives.

How we鈥檒l pay: Two percent of funding from fare fees; 2 percent state funding; 7 percent federal formula funds; 13 percent federal new starts and small starts funds; 30 percent bond proceeds; and a 46 percent sales tax surcharge. The surcharge would be a half-cent sales tax increase that could go into effect as early as February 1, 2025, and 鈥渨ould end when all outstanding debt has been repaid.鈥 Though the plan documents laid out initiatives up to 2039鈥攚ith an indication that they鈥檒ll stretch further into the future鈥 the mayor has referred to the dedicated funding plan as a 30-year endeavor. Recurring costs are estimated at $111 million per year. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃帗 LEE ACCEPTS DEFEAT This morning, the governor announced that there鈥檚 no path forward for his ESA expansion plan鈥 at least not this year. 鈥淚 am extremely disappointed for the families who will have to wait yet another year for the freedom to choose the right education for their child,鈥 Lee posted on X, 鈥渆specially when there is broad agreement that now is the time to bring universal school choice to Tennessee.鈥

Over the last month, the General Assembly has wrestled over the bill's particulars: the House took costly measures to ensure the protection of public schools, while the Senate was determined to give families a choice regardless of zip code. The bill鈥檚 failure is a devastating blow to Lee鈥檚 administration, considering it鈥檚 the second major initiative put forward by the governor this year that didn鈥檛 make the cut. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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馃彎锔 ENDLESS VACATION REVISITED As Justin Jones鈥 endless vacation from Vanderbilt Divinity School continues, his actions during the protests that ushered him into the spotlight are getting fresh oxygen. On Friday, Dan Mandis spoke with NewsChannel5 reporter Phil 鈥淔ootman鈥 Williams about the rumor that Jones brushed off a number of sexual assault allegations during 2020鈥檚 Summer of Floyd. Mandis asked Williams if he had ever confronted Jones about the allegations.

鈥淚 did ask him, and because this deals with someone with whom he was involved in a relationship, he chose not to comment,鈥 Williams responded. What鈥檚 most interesting about the whole debacle is VU Divinity鈥檚 pledge to look into the allegations. We asked a number of people at the school if they ever followed up on their pledge to investigate and got a blanket response from the University鈥檚 media relations associate. Mum鈥檚 the word. DAVIS HUNT

DEVELOPMENT

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Entertainment

THINGS TO DO

View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

馃搮 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

馃帶 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

馃懆馃徎鈥嶐煂 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide.

TONIGHT

馃幐 Soft Kill @ The Basement East, 7p, $23.10, Info
+ shoegazey post-punk

馃帣锔 Walkin' After Midnight: An All-Star Tribute to Patsy Cline @ Ryman Auditorium, 7:30p, $99+, Info

馃獣 Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle & New Monday @ Station Inn, 8p, $20, Info

馃拃 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 8p, Free, Info

馃暫 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info