Five Kewpies sign to play in college

Thursday, February 3, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:08 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Five Hickman athletes signed national letters of intent Wednesday. The commitments came on the first day available to athletes to announce their college destinations.

Four of the five were from the Kewpies’ Class 6 state championship football team. The fifth, Janelle Cordia, a soccer and cross country standout at Hickman, accepted a scholarship to play soccer for Missouri .

Fans, classmates, and teammates attended the event at Hickman. Family surrounded the athletes as they signed with the college of their choice.

Football coach Gregg Nesbitt’s son Ryan Nesbitt signed to play at Central Methodist University.

Ryan Nesbitt, a free safety for the Kewpies, said he was happy to take his game to the next level.

“Not many guys get to continue playing,” Ryan Nesbitt said, “I’m truly blessed to get the opportunity.” CMU coach Merle Masonholder attended the signing to welcome his new player.

Cedric Alvis and Luke Harper signed with Southwest Missouri State. Alvis, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back was a three-year starter at Hickman. Alvis also contributed as a quarterback, running back and receiver during his career and helped lead the Kewpies to the state championship.

Nesbitt said Alvis is “arguably the best football player in our state. The state championship would indicate that.”

Harper, a 6-1, 265-pound offensive lineman was a four-year starter and three-time all-state pick. He was “as tough a football player as I’ve had the privilege to coach in 25 years,” Nesbitt said.

“SMS was actually my first scheduled visit,” Harper said. “After it I canceled the other visits I had scheduled. It was really a perfect fit.”

An all-state offensive lineman, Cavelle Cole-Neal signed a letter of intent to walk on at Missouri.

Cole-Neal turned down NCAA Division II and NAIA offers to fight for his long-time ultimate goal of playing for the Tigers.

Since Nesbitt and his coaching staff took over 11 years ago, the Kewpies have sent 75 players to collegiate football programs. Of those players, 25 have gone to NCAA Division I or Division II schools.

Nesbitt said the sizable crowd attending the signing was a tribute to the closeness of the Hickman community.

Although Tuesday was the first day players could sign, Nesbitt said five or six more Hickman players are likely to sign within the month.

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