Luttrell adds two more Dragons to Union College football roster


Jon Dickenson

Harlan seniors Will Austin and Jayden Ward signed to continue their football and academic careers with Union College.

By John Henson, Managing Editor

A former Harlan High School standout himself, Union College football coach John Luttrell has no hesitation in adding players from his alma mater. He made the trip back to Harlan this week to sign two more Green Dragons.
Running back Jayden Ward and defensive back/receiver Will Austin became the second and third Dragons to join the Union program this year, following linebacker R.W. Sanford.
Both played key roles in the Dragons’ 8-4 season last fall that ended with a loss to eventual Class A state champ Pikeville in the second round.
“Will is very athletic with great length. He has only played football a couple of years and has great potential. I think he can come in and help us right away,” Luttrell said. “Jayden is a hard-nosed old-school football player. He is strong and physical and loves contact. I think he will also be able to come in and contribute right away. Both young men are also good students. I’m so happy that we can sign local talent.”
Ward ran for 1,423 yards and 19 touchdowns last season while adding 25 tackles. He had 2,746 yards rushing in his four-year career with 698 yards in 2021, 279 in a covid-shortened 2020 season and 346 yards in the 1-10 season of 2019.
Austin was one of the most dynamic players to wear a Harlan uniform this century with his big-play ability that included 15 catches for 289 yards and five touchdowns. He also touchdowns on a punt return, kick return and an interception.
“Jayden and Will both have a great work ethic with a strong desire to succeed,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “It’s great they are getting an opportunity to continue to play and also have their school paid for. I know they will make all the Green Dragon faithful proud.”