Local athlete makes jump from 6-man high school football to 11-man college football

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Despite his 6′3, 250 pound frame, unbelievable career statistics at Parkview Christian, and an athletic scholarship from Angelo State, CJ Lanehart feels like he has a lot to prove.

“There are a lot of people that doubt, just because I am a six-man player. They don’t think I can ‘hang with the big boys.’ That is just an extra boost and a chip on my shoulder I can bring into camp,” says Lanehart.

CJ has had that same chip on his shoulder for years. He remembers dreaming of being a college football player when he was in Jr. High, only to be doubted by those around him.

CJ remembers, “In 7th grade I looked at him on the sideline after a game and said, ‘Coach, I want to go play college ball.’ A lot of people said there is no way, but he is the one guy that believed in me.”

Josh Hayes was that Jr High coach, and he would eventually reunite with CJ at the varsity level, helping CJ become a star at a variety of positions.

Though some college coaches were hesitant about recruiting a 6-man football player, CJ and Hayes found a way to use the different play style to their advantage.

Hayes explains, “College coaches loved seeing his versatility and athleticism. I honestly thing that helped him. They saw that he can play all of these different positions.”

CJ will play Tight End at Angelo State and he knows the hard work is just beginning, but he also knows he is doing it for more than just himself.

CJ tells me, “Yeah, I am a six-man player. People can say what they want. I am going to try to pave the way for other kids that don’t think they can do it. I am going to prove everyone wrong at the end of the day.”

Coach Hayes adds, “It gives these younger kids the hope that they can do it. I already had two kids come to me after we had CJ’s signing and they said, ‘Coach, I want that to be me’.”

CJ also says his parents have always been incredibly supportive of him on the field, in the classroom, and spiritually.

They are hoping to attend as many of his games at Angelo State as possible.

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