By Malcolm Butler
Even Carter Hill said he surprised himself.
The recently graduated multi-sport star at Cedar Creek will be heading to Searcy, Arkansas, in a few weeks to begin fall football camp at Harding University.
Hill chose the pigskin route over hoops, something that he said shocked himself.
“I never really considered football, ever, for college,” said Hill. “I always thought it would be basketball. Just this past season Coach (Matt) Middleton and Coach (Mark) Ware both said something to me. Something like ‘You really have a good build to be a corner(back). You have this and you have that.’
“I didn’t really think anything of it. I was like ‘man I play basketball.’ That’s what I’ve always done.”
However, that all changed a few weeks ago when Hill called an audible.
During Father’s Day Weekend in June, Carter and his dad, Scott, traveled north to Harding to visit with new Bison head basketball coach Weston Jameson and Bison head football coach Paul Simmons about the possibility of playing college ball at the Division II program.
It wasn’t the first time Hill had been to he Harding campus.
“We had gone up to Harding for a basketball camp the summer going into my senior year,” said Hill. “It wasn’t the current basketball coach at that time. It was a former coach. He said they had no need for a guard and the were looking for bigs. So it was completely ruled out my entire senior year.”
It was a familiar face that helped grease the wheels for Hill’s second look at Harding. Middleton, who served as Hill’s head coach the past two years at Cedar Creek, is now an assistant football coach at for the Bison.
“Coach Middleton being at Harding really helped,” said Hill. “Coach Middleton talked to (the basketball coach) and sent him my film. They called and asked us to come to campus. And once I told Coach Middleton that I was coming up there to meet with basketball, he said why don’t you come meet with football as well. So I just met with both of them.”
According to Hill, Jameson offered him a roster spot with the Bison hoops team. However, the former Cougar star ultimately had a tough decision to make.
“At the same time, Coach Simmons talked to me on the phone before we went up there,” said Hill. “He said, ‘Hey Carter. I hear you are thinking of coming up here and playing basketball. We have a good thing going here with football. I think you will really like it. Let’s get you on campus and see.’
“So we had dinner on Father’s Day with Coach Jameson and then the next morning we had breakfast with Coach Simmons.”
And with multiple offers to play at Harding, Hill had a choice to make.
“Coach Simmons made it really easy for me to choose football,” said Hill. “Nothing against Coach Jameson. He was great. Coach Simmons just really pulled me in. And seeing all of their facilities too. They seem to win every year. I just want to be a part of a winning program.”
Hill will report to training camp August 4. He said he has been told he will play corner for Harding.
“I have been training for months for basketball, but just completely flipped to football,” said Hill. “I have only played corner for one year so I was kind of hesitant. I was more comfortable with basketball. But I just feel I will really be able to learn a lot more and get more comfortable with football.”
Harding posted a 9-2 record in 2022. The Bison open their season Aug. 31 against Southern Nazarene.
Hill was an all-district and all-Lincoln Parish Journal selection in both sports during his senior year at Cedar Creek.