GUYTON — C.J. Webb is quite pushy. Fortunately, he reserves most of his forcefulness to propel himself toward his goals.
With several of his former South Effingham teammates, coaches and family members on hand, Webb celebrated a major achievement Saturday when he inked a national letter of intent to attend North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.
Webb didn’t arrive at South Effingham until midway through his senior season. He transferred from Savannah Arts Academy, bringing ample skills and knowledge with him.
“I guess it was about Christmas time,” South Effingham coach DaKota Paradice said. “Coach (Jeff) Faith, the old (athletic director), reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this kid. He’s really talented.’ He’s coming in from Savannah Arts and he really brings a lot to the table.’
“I was really excited about him from just what I had heard about him.”
Webb’s ability was evident during his Mustangs tryout a few weeks later.
“One of the big things I look for as a winger is the ability to switch the ball and nobody could switch it like C.J.,” Paradice said. “He had a high (soccer) IQ and he was very bossy with me a couple times but that helped me understand who he is as a player and what he wants. I think that just shows just how hungry he was to come here, not only to be on a winning team but to be on the field as part of that winning team.”
The 2021 Mustangs posted a 13-7 record, advancing to the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
“He really helped us this year and I wish we could have had him all four years (of his high school career),” Paradice said
A hip injury during his sophomore campaign at Savannah Arts forced Webb into a new position. Following surgery to repair a torn labrum, he moved from the attacking position of center-back to a defensive spot.
“After that, I could see the game better,” Webb said. “I could see where the ball was going better. It was just helpful to be in the back (of the formation) instead of the front.”
In addition to Paradice, Webb credited former coaches Dane Williams and Dustin Johnson for assisting him on his soccer journey. They participated in the signing ceremony via Facetime.
Webb also heaped praise on his mother, Shannon. They choked back tears as he referred to her after putting his name on the NCAA paperwork.
“She has been my rock through everything,” Webb said. “I have always been playing behind the top players on the field. I’ve always had to play catch-up and it was her and one other coach who said, ‘You are the most hardest-working player I have ever seen. Just keep looking forward.’
“That’s what I did. I never looked up to anybody else, compared myself to anyone. I just kept my head down and worried about myself, and just kept moving along — and she has been there through it all.”
Webb admitted that he needs to bulk up in order to be the impact player he expects to be for North Greenville.
“I’m still trying to get bigger and stronger on the ball and off the ball but my mental state has gotten so much better after the surgery and being able to see things differently than I was before,” he said.
Webb intends to pursue a degree in exercise science.