Gainesville High’s Ryan Nolan announced Wednesday he will play at Army-West Point while teammate Dyoni Hill will play at Marshall University next fall.
After winning only two games in each of the previous two seasons, the Gainesville Hurricanes football team won eight games and a district title this season in year two under head coach Dock Pollard.
Both Nolan and Hill have been through the ups and downs as the two Hurricanes players signed their letters of intent on National Signing Day to play football at the next level.
“This group exceeded our expectations by far (in 2021),” Pollard said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men with faith and perseverance had a successful year.”
Nolan spent some time playing quarterback in his Hurricanes career, especially this season when starting quarterback Shooby Coleman was banged up. At GHS, Nolan played free safety and he will play mostly defense at the next level at West Point.
“Ryan is super smart and like a coach on the field,” Pollard said. “He would be an attribute to any program and definitely will be for West Point.”
Nolan had 49 tackles and 2 interceptions as a senior in 2021 and threw for a couple of touchdowns and rushed for a score at the QB position.
“I am always going to remember how we were horrible my first season but were in the playoffs by my senior year,” Nolan said. “It was special to sign today but also have a teammate to sign with me was a dream of mine as well.”
“Obviously I know I will have a lot of military stuff to work on (at West Point),” Nolan said. “But after that I look forward to making money.”
Hill, who played cornerback and wide receiver, also had two interceptions and 32 tackles as a senior.
“I’ve been through a lot of things in my life, like switching house to house and stuff like that,” Hill said. “I didn’t start playing football until 9th grade, but by the end of my 11th grade year I started to realize my dream of playing in college could come true.”
Marshall found Hill after he was MVP of a camp. He says Marshall is a perfect fit.
“I went on my official visit to Marshall and I didn’t want to come home,” Hill said. “I was set after that.”
“Dyoni is an awesome athlete and a very savvy football mind with a great sense of humor,” Pollard said. “He will add a different layer of humanity to Marshall.”
Pollard couldn’t be happier that his Hurricanes program turned out two players who will be playing at the FBS level of college football.
“Only 6.5 percent of all high school players get to go on and play college ball,” Pollard said. “With the new landscape or recruiting with the transfer portal and JUCO it means a lot for GHS to send two players to the Division 1 level.”