Hennessey finds new home at Central Washington

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Reilly Hennessey (left) steps back to throw the football during spring camp at Central Washington University. The 21-year-old from Camas is putting in the work this summer to become the starting quarterback for the Wildcats. (Photo courtesy of CWU athletics)

Every day Reilly Hennessey is getting more comfortable at Central Washington University.

Before transferring in the spring, the 21-year-old quarterback from Camas thanked his teammates, coaches, friends and community members at Eastern Washington University for their support. He made his college debut for the Eagles on Sept. 5, 2015, and completed 14-of-his-21 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.

Hennessey finished his freshman season with 773 passing yards and four touchdowns, but only saw limited action on the field as a sophomore. He comes to Central Washington in search of more playing time.

“I have nothing but respect for the guys back at Eastern. I loved my time at Eastern Washington,” Hennessey said. “I feel like I have two more years left of guaranteed football. That’s what I want to do. Play as much football as I can the next two years and see what happens. I just felt really good about Central Washington. The opportunity was there.”

Hennessey is making the most of this opportunity by staying on campus during the summer and getting to know his new teammates and coaches. He lifts weights, studies film and plays catch with his receivers on the field.

“As a football player, you get used to a schedule. Get up early and get your work in. Keep trying to work on some sort of preparation every single day,” Hennessey said. “That’s something I’ve fallen in love with the last eight years. It’s part of my life now. I’d feel weird if I wasn’t doing it.”

Hennessey is one of five quarterbacks on the roster. He looks forward to competing in the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference against Azuza Pacific University, Humbolt State, Simon Fraiser and Western Oregon. Central Washington begins the season Saturday, Sept. 2, at Texas A&M, in Kingsville, Texas.

“The success of the team is not going to be based on one person. It’s going to take all of us playing together and playing at our best to do some special things,” Hennessey said. “I hope the way that we play and the effort we give on every play reflects the hard work we put in and the love we have for the game.”

Head coach Ian Shoemaker told Hennessey he’s not guaranteeing him a starting spot. He’s guaranteeing him an opportunity to compete.

“We want to build friendship and camaraderie. Our mantra in the room is to have a good time, be a great teammate and compete,” Shoemaker said. “He’s really jumped on board with the rest of the team. He’s doing all the things he needs to do to compete for a starting job this fall.”

Shoemaker hopes to surround Hennessey with a competitive atmosphere and with teammates who can push him.

“I think he saw that a little bit during the spring. He realizes this job is not just going to be handed to him,” Shoemaker said. “I want him to compete at a high level every day, both on the field and in preparation for the game. I’m looking forward to seeing that. To say he’s a finished product; I’m not ready to do that yet.”

Hennessey looks forward to the challenge. Every day is an opportunity to prove himself all over again.

“There’s some good talent in this room. We’re all pushing each other and making each other better,” Hennessey said.

“I don’t think my love for the game has changed at all. The decision I made was for the love of the game,” he added. “I want to play the game out for the next two years as much as I can.”