Southside’s Keeling, Mills sign with Lindsey Wilson

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By Chris McCarthy/Editor

Following in the footsteps of teammate Tyler Carr, who will play for Auburn University this fall, a pair of Southside High seniors signed college football scholarships on Wednesday (Feb. 4). 

Holt Keeling and Ben Mills committed to Lindsey Wilson College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Columbia, Kentucky. 

Keeling and Mills helped the 2014 Panthers post a 9-3 record, win the Class 6A, Region 7 championship and earn a berth in the second round of the state playoffs. 

Keeling was named to the Class 6A ASWA All-State football team after rushing for 1,476 yards and 16 touchdowns on 128 carries and catching 12 passes for 345 yards and five TDs. He also had 31 punt returns for 521 yards and a touchdown and ran back 17 kickoff returns for 536 yards and two scores. On defense, Keeling recorded 37 tackles along with four interceptions. He also was selected as the Class 6A, All-Region 7 Overall MVP and was The Messenger’s Overall Athlete.

“I went up there last weekend for my official visit, and it just felt like home,” said Keeling. “When Ben told me he committed, I had my mind set on that school. I think it’s a good decision for me.” 

Mills was tabbed as the Class 6A, All-Region 7 team’s Defensive Athlete and named to the All-Messenger football first team defense after finishing with 104 tackles, including 70 solo stops. 

Mills was a 2013 Class 1A Back of the Year finalist as a junior at Coosa Christian. 

“The last two years I’ve been stressed out about this, so this really is a big relief,” said Mills. “I visited [Lindsey Wilson] two weeks ago and committed last night, so it happened pretty fast. Me and Holt will probably get to live together, so I’ll have someone there I know.” 

The 2014 Blue Raiders went 10-3, won the Mid-South Conference East Division title and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Football Championship Series.

“The work ethic for both these kids is tremendous,” said SHS head football coach Ron Daugherty. “Coach [Charles] Nails hit the nail on the head when he said it wasn’t just what Holt and Ben did this year. It’s what they’ve done the past few years in the classroom, in the weight room and on the practice field. I think that Lindsey Wilson is getting a steal with these young men. 

“But one of the things that most excites me about this is that I know without a doubt that Lindsey Wilson is going to come back and recruit at Southside High School because of what Holt and Ben are going to do up there. This shows that hard work does pay off, and I’m really proud of them.” 

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