The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Brotherly Love

A week before the Eastern football summer camp started, Keithan Hedrick, 19, went home to Markham, a city just south of Chicago, to see his family. But it was not an ordinary visit.

Keithan, a safety on the football team, told his brothers, Dillon and Josh Cazley, to pack up their belongings and come with him to Charleston.

He’s joking, Dillon thought. But his big brother was serious.

Keithan and his mother, Geneva Cazley, decided that Josh and Dillon would move to Charleston with their older brother.

Keithan said Charleston was a safer community than Markham, where he and his family grew up.

“(Charleston) has less violence and more opportunity than the heart of Chicago right now,” Keithan said.

At first, Dillon and Josh didn’t know what to think of Keithan telling them to pack up and leave with him. They had no other choice, Dillon said.

“What can you do,” Dillon, a sophomore at Charleston High School, said. “We packed up and moved.”

With two teenagers coming back to Charleston with him, Keithan said he knew he couldn’t live in the dorms, like the university would want him to.

He brought his issue to Eastern defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni. Hedrick said his coach talked to the necessary people, finalizing his move off campus with athletic director Barbara Burke.

“She gave me no wits about it,” Keithan said.

In fact, Burke offered him help any time he needed it.

With their living arrangements finalized, Keithan and his brothers moved to Charleston.

Once they arrived, Dillon noticed a difference. Coming from a city of about 2.9 million people to a small town of nearly 22,000, there was an obvious change. Regardless of the population, Dillon and Josh like the community.

When Dillon first stepped into the hallways of Charleston High School, he said he was welcomed by everyone in the school.

“I was amazed,” Dillon said.

Josh, a freshman at Charleston High School, said he was welcomed with open arms in the community.

Taking care of his brothers

Before the move Keithan and his mother decided to make him the legal guardian of Josh and Dillon.

A little over a week ago, Geneva came to visit. According to Keithan, she was pleasantly surprised at what she saw.

“It was nicer than she expected,” Keithan said.

Keithan, Dillon and Josh all have their own rooms, big enough for all of their belongings. Outside of their bedroom doors is their social area, where they can eat dinner or watch television while relaxing on a big couch.

Keithan said their mother also liked Charleston, and how the community had embraced the situation they are in.

Keithan said he knows the situation he is in is difficult, but that he has a good system down to where everything in all three brothers’ lives run in unison.

The schedules work out well for the three brothers. Keithan is taking a full class load at Eastern, going to classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and attending football practices.

Dillon and Josh get out of school at about the same time Keithan does, and then all three go to their football practices.

“When I get up and go in the morning, they get up and go,” Keithan said. “When I’m home they’re home.”

Even though Keithan is their legal guardian, they all get along like brothers.

“Most people see it as he’s your brother – cool,” Dillon said. “He’s my brother. We laugh. We giggle.”

There is a bond between brothers that is universal, according to the three brothers. Josh said that’s what makes their situation so good.

“He is still my brother but also my legal guardian,” Josh said. “You can come to him about more stuff than you would your parents because you still have the brother connection.”

Although there is a brotherly connection, they all understand that there is a line between brother and parent; in fact, Keithan said there has to be.

“The best part about it is that they never approach it,” Keithan said.

Unlike 2- or 3-year-olds, Keithan said, his brothers are teenagers that are perfectly able to take care of themselves. Keithan said Dillon and Josh also understand the respect they must have for their older brother.

Keithan said his brothers are used to having Keithan act as a parental figure.

After all, Keithan has looked after his brothers all throughout their lives, even when he was a high-schooler like them, he said.

Connected by a game

Having his brothers in Charleston is exciting for Keithan because, he gets to see them play football.

Instead of having to call home to see how Dillon and Josh played on a given weekend, Keithan said he likes to go to as many Charleston High School games as possible to watch his brothers play.

In the past, Keithan said, he used to be completely involved in his brothers’ football games as their coach. He said he used to be on the sideline.

According to Keithan, he was so well respected in Markham as a football player, that coaches allowed him on the sidelines to directly talk to his brothers.

Now, his criticisms – if any – come after the game.

“It always seems like when you slip on something you might not notice it, but at home (Keithan) is going to notice it and say you slipped up,” Josh said.

But it’s not in a rude tone. Keithan is more interested in discussing how the game went than yelling at them for one minor fault.

Unless that slip up regards bad character.

“Incidents like (personal fouls or fighting) aren’t acceptable,” Keithan said. “If (Josh or Dillon) got a personal foul or was fighting I’d chew him out.”

Keithan said his brothers have avoided things that would make him “chew them out,” which he said he is happy about.

For Dillon and Josh, having their big brother watching their football games is a little nerve-racking.

“In the back of the head, I’m nervous,” Josh said.

Dillon and Josh said they look up to their brother as a role model, so getting his advice after the game is always welcome.

Josh said Keithan’s advice is much more laid back than one might expect from a scrutinizing older brother.

“He’d come in our room after the game and say, ‘Hey, how was the game?” and we have a conversation,” Josh said.

For Dillon, having Keithan to look up to as a college athlete is inspiring. Dillon said just being near a college campus is motivating.

“It makes you so hungry to get to the next level,” Dillon said.

Dillon, who wants to be a doctor, said he is more inspired living in Charleston than he ever has been to go to college and to play college football.

“It makes you think ‘that could be me’ going to play from Friday nights to Saturday nights, on television,” Dillon said. “You just dream.”

Living with his brothers

Keithan, being a college student, leads a different social life than his high school brothers, but that doesn’t bother him.

Keithan said his weekend activities don’t include the things many people think college students do.

“At heart – sometimes I kind of laugh – but I’m kind of a boring guy,” Keithan said. “I’m not the type of guy who needs to go out and party every night.”

Josh said Keithan lets Dillon and him have social lives as well. He said Keithan will give him plenty of time on weekends to hang out with his friends.

Keithan said he likes to just hang out on weekends and watch movies if he can, relaxing his body after football practice and games.

“I enjoy having weekends to myself, not having anything to do and kicking back and getting leisure time,” Keithan said. “That’s enough for me.”

Keithan has a girlfriend, who he said he has been dating for a couple years. According to Keithan, she loves his situation with his brothers.

“She treats (Josh and Dillon) as her brothers as well,” Keithan said.

Keithan said he knows the sacrifice to his social life he has taken, but he said his brothers’ lives are more important than his social life.

He said he has been overjoyed with how Dillon and Josh have played on the football field, scoring multiple touchdowns and playing multiple positions.

In his first game, Josh scored four touchdowns. Dillon scored three. Being a freshman and sophomore, Josh and Dillon are on different levels of the football team.

Dillon is returning kicks on the varsity football team.

Keithan said his brothers have played tremendously.

“It’s a testament to them, I take no credit for it,” Keithan said.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or

[email protected]

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

Red-shirt freshman strong safey Keithan Hedrick (center) gives his brothers Josh Cazley (left), a freshman running back, and Dylan Cazley (right), a sophomore quarterback, both of Charleston High School, a brotherly hug at their apartment after a sophomor


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