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Troup duo ready for next challenge

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – They were there for the tough times, they were around for the good times, and Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said they never changed, no matter the circumstances.

Chanse Hill and Ken Truitt were a part of the 2015 team that struggled through a one-win season, and they were starters and key contributors a year ago as the Tigers rebounded to win eight games.

“The biggest compliment I can give these guys is, from day one, when we were 1-9, to the day we played Cartersville in the region-championship game, they were the same people,” Glisson said. “Winning and losing did not change their character, and I think that’s a tremendous compliment, probably the biggest compliment I can give them.”

Glisson appreciates everything Truitt and Hill have done during his two seasons as head coach, and now he’ll be able to follow their progress as college-football players.

Truitt has signed a letter of intent to play at the College of the Siskiyous in California, while Hill is going to South Carolina to play for Benedict College.

This week, both men were a part of a signing-day celebration in the Troup media center, with friends, family members, coaches and teammates participating.

Truitt will be joining former Troup teammate Tremayne Tolbert at Siskiyous.

Tolbert was a freshman on last season’s team, and he had a big year with 31 catches for 525 yards and six touchowns.

“Tremayne’s out there, and he’s balling,” Truitt said. “I’ve been talking to him, and he said he loves it out there. It’s going to be good. He can show me how it works.”

Hill will be staying a little closer to home, and he’s looking forward to joining the Benedict College program in Columbia, S.C.

“I went twice,” Hill said. “The first time I went, it was like a tryout, and they really liked me. They said to come back for the spring game and orientation. I came back and I really liked it. I liked the atmosphere a lot.”

Hill and Truitt both earned this opportunity thanks in large part to what they accomplished as seniors.

They were both busy men, starting at wide receiver and defensive back, and they both produced in a big way.

The 5-foot-9 Truitt was a big play waiting to happen.

Truitt had 29 catches for 526 yards, good for an impressive average of 18.1 yards per reception, and he scored four touchdowns.

On defense, Truitt had 28 solo tackles and three interceptions, and he also returned kickoffs.

“Ken is a very explosive player and was our home-run threat vertically,” Glisson said. “He made some really big catches down the stretch for us and also had three interceptions on defense. Ken logged a lot of mileage as he played both ways and returned kicks for us. I know that Vallory is very happy for him and all that he accomplished.”

Truitt’s athletic success at Troup wasn’t limited to football.

Truitt was also a standout in baseball, and as a senior he was a starting outfielder on a team that won a second straight region championship and reached the second round of the state playoffs.

In football, after enduring the one-win season in 2015, Truitt was glad to be able to experience success as a senior.

“It was great,” Truitt said. “In all our years here, we had losing records. To be able to finish out our senior year with a winning record, that was big.”

Now, Truitt is ready to make some new positive memories out west.

“It’s my dream,” he said of playing college football. “I can’t wait.”

The 6-foot-1 Hill was also a big-play receiver last season, and he had 25 catches for 240 yards with three touchdowns.

Defensively, Hill had 30 solo tackles, five assists and three fumble recoveries.

“Chanse Hill is one of the hardest working and most mild-mannered players that I’ve coached in 17 years,” Glisson said. “He is a great leader and does it by leading by example. He stuck with us and our program when times weren’t good and I’m so excited for him not only for signing but the fact that he and his classmates were able to have that experience last year. This class will forever be remembered as the group that put Troup football back on the map. Tara and Larry have done a remarkable job raising him and I know that his future is extremely bright.”

Hill was chosen by his teammates as a team captain, and Glisson said that was a reflection of his character.

“From a coach’s standpoint and a player’s standpoint, when your peers choose you to be one of their captains and a leader, that is a tremendous honor,” Glisson said. “To me that’s the biggest honor you can get.”

Hill said he’s ready to embrace the challenge that comes with being a college-football player.

“You’ve got to work harder, you’ve got to study,” Hill said. “You have to always be in the weight room, you’re always looking at film. You have to show your coaches you want to be there.”

Hill added that “it’s always been my dream to play in college. My cousin, Wesley Woodyard, played at Kentucky, and I just wanted to experience college like he did.”

Reflecting on the memorable 2016 season, Hill was glad to see his teammates be able to have success.

Hill said he enjoyed “just being able to have a positive season, and set the foundation for the upcoming players, and just seeing (the younger players) grow.”

Glisson took over as head coach the summer for the 2015 season, and he said having Truitt and Hill on the roster helped with the transition.

“These guys were the backbone of what we started,” Glisson said. “When we started here, and we got here so late, and the direction and the culture we were trying to create, it was very difficult in Year 1. These guys never ever wavered, and I really believe that’s because of their upbringing.”

Glisson also recognized the contributions made by another senior, running back Camren Russell, who had opportunities to play college football.

Russell will instead be focusing on his academic pursuits as he attempts to become a doctor.

Russell will begin his academic journey at the University of West Georgia.

“Cam had three opportunities to sign, but he wants to go be a doctor, and it’s hard to do both, and he took a lot of physical abuse with his body,” Glisson said. “He’s ready for the next chapter. We had somebody last week and gave Cam one more chance, and he said no thank you.”

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