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Khyre Willis
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

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Austin Ganaway
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

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Michael-Anthony Hill
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

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Nathan Hebb
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

Four CCHS Eagles will play college football

Central Catholic High School held a ceremony Wednesday to recognize four football players that will continue their academic and athletic careers at three different colleges.
Khyre Willis will be headed to Louisiana College, while teammate Austin Ganaway has signed with Culver-Stockton College in Missouri. Michael-Anthony Hill and Nathan Hebb are receiving academic money from Nicholls and will join the football team as preferred walk-ons.
“This is always a great day, because you’ve got kids that bust their butt for four years through high school,” Central Catholic football coach Tommy Minton said. “This is a dream for them to play college football. This is a dream for their parents for them to be able to go to school for free and be able to keep playing the game that they love.”
While Willis, a two-year starter for the Eagles as a defensive back, visited Arkansas State prior to his senior season and also had interest from Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana University, he said that he took the trip to Louisiana College about two weeks ago.
“It just felt like home,” he said. “I loved it, so I came back with a decision. That’s where I want to go.”
There was some uneasiness about whether an offer would come, however, as recently Louisiana College’s coach, Justin Charles, left for the high school level.
“When he left, I just knew, I wasn’t going to get the offer, and like I said, after I took the visit, they made it official,” he said.
Willis said he is ready to play cornerback in college but will have to put in a lot of work in preparation for the jump.
“He’s a competitive, competitive kid,” Minton said. “He fought through injuries early this year and came back and had some big games for us.”
Willis finished his senior season with 21 tackles, two interceptions and returned a blocked field goal 95 yards for a touchdown.
In addition to being a solid athlete, Minton said Willis also is a good student.
“They feel like as a nickel corner, he’s going to have a chance to play early for them, and we’re excited about his future,” Minton said.
Ganaway will make the longest trip away from home for college among the four Eagles as he will attend Culver-Stockton College, an NAIA school in Missouri.
Ganaway said both his offers were out of state, and he visited both schools.
However, he said he liked Culver-Stockton the best.
“They had a real nice football program,” he said. “I felt like it would be a good place for me to go better myself and just improve all around.”
Ganaway, a two-year starter for the Eagles on the offensive line, was part of a group that helped Central Catholic’s offense average 286 rushing yards per game, 7.2 yards per carry and score 43 rushing touchdowns this season.
“He had a lot of interest, and he made several visits to some other schools, but this one, when they flew him up there, it just kind of hit home with him,” Minton said. “A lot of kids are scared to go out of state. This is Missouri, so it’s a good distance away, but he kind of welcomed the opportunity to get away. It’s going to be a challenge for him to get adjusted and make it, but I feel like he will. I feel like he’s capable of doing that.”
For Hill, he said the chance to play college football has been a dream since he was a youngster.
“It’s honestly surreal to have your family all around you and your school supporting you, and it just feels like everything culminates in the last four years of high school,” he said.
Hill said past Central Catholic walk-ons at Nicholls have “paved the way” for future players to join the program.
“They’ve all shown that walking on isn’t lesser than a scholarship,” he said. “It just means you have to work harder and grind and do what you can and make a name for yourself.”
Hill, a four-year starter for the Eagles, also has a 4.0 GPA and an excellent ACT score, Minton said.
“Michael-Anthony’s a great kid, and he’s done a good job for us,” Minton said.
Hill was part of an Eagles offensive line this season that helped Central Catholic average 286 rushing yards per game, 7.2 yards per carry and score 43 rushing touchdowns.
Joining Hill at Nicholls will be Hebb, who played on offense and defense for the Eagles in his Central Catholic career.
“It’s great,” Hebb said of the feeling of signing day. “It’s really nice to have all my family around, the other three guys signing with me. It’s really a special moment.”
Hebb said he considered other schools for a little while, but once Nicholls talked to him and he attended some of spring practice, he decided that was where he wanted to go there.
Hebb, who said he thought he would be a tight end for the Colonels, finished his senior season at Central Catholic with 88 tackles (36 solo and 52 assists), three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two stacks and five tackles for loss from his linebacker position.
“I’m going to go over there, go to a great program, great coaches, great players. Hopefully, we can continue that winning streak, get deeper into the playoffs. With the new stuff being built, hopefully push us a little bit further,” Hebb said of the new football operations center that is set to be built soon.
Hebb was a four-year starter for the Eagles who started on offense and defense the last two years, Minton said.
“Nathan’s just a hard-nosed kid,” Minton said. “He loves the game of football, plays full speed all the time, and I’m glad to see him go on to this next level and get a chance to keep playing.”

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