BAMBERG – During Bamberg-Ehrhardt standout K.C. Crosby’s first football game, he was on the sidelines the entire time — as an infant.

On Thursday, the 18-year-old B-E tight-end-turned-quarterback was presented with an official jersey for the Under Armour All-America Game after being selected earlier this year by ESPN Recruiters as one of the top college football prospects in the nation.

“I’d like to thank God for blessing me with this opportunity,” he told the B-E student body – and ESPN cameras. “It’s going to be exciting to be out there on ESPN; you got a million people watching.”

Sponsored by American Family Insurance, the three-month Selection Tour will visit 90 Under Armour All-Americans to present official jerseys to those selected.

Tour manager Quentin Williams told Crosby and the more than 400 students and faculty that the student athlete’s jersey “is a symbol of your hard work in the community, in the classroom and on the football field.”

ESPN will televise the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2 at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game featuring the nation’s best collegiate prospects is in its seventh year.

The 2012 T&D High School Football Player of the Year and a T&D Elite 11 selection for 2013, Crosby said he’s honored to be among an elite few selected each year. Behind Daquan Bowers, Ricky Sapp, and A.J. Cann, his selection is the fourth time a B-E player has been invited to such a game.

Kevin Crosby Sr. has coached football at Elloree and is now his son’s head coach at B-E. The senior Crosby described Thursday’s celebration as “a special day.”

“It’s exciting for the community and I’m proud to say he’s been part of the program,” he said.

During the 2012 season alone, the 6-2, 236-pound tight end racked up 910 yards and 11 touchdowns on 31 catches. He is rated ESPN 300’s 88th best player in the country and South Carolina’s second-best tight end.

Coach Crosby said that in spite of local and national attention, K.C. has remained grounded with a good dose of humility.

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“I’m pleased with how he’s gone through this,” Kevin Crosby said. “He understands that without his teammates, none of this is possible. It’s not about him, it’s about the whole team.”

But at K.C.’s first ball game, he wasn’t on the team. He was on the sidelines with his father — in a baby carrier – as the then-new coach led the team. It was there that K.C. was first introduced to the game of football.

“Football met him when he was born,” Kevin Crosby said. “When he got up and walked, he stood on the sidelines.”

Crosby says his son’s first words weren’t calling out a play or signaling an audible. But close enough. He said, “I’m going with Daddy,” Coach Crosby recalls of the message to K.C.’s mother Denise, a key supporter of her son’s football endeavors.

Truman and AbiGail Crosby tell of a lesser-known side of their grandson, the off-the-field KC. They said that when not on the gridiron, he is playing drums for his church, Savannah Creek Baptist Church. He’s been a member since he was 6 weeks old. For the past three years, he’s served as assistant Sunday School superintendent.

“That’s where I was rooted and grounded,” K.C. says of the Ehrhardt church.

Besides his dedication to family, church and football, not many know the B-E standout enjoys a bit of America’s pasttime – baseball. Asked which one he was better at playing, he said, “I don’t know. (When) I was pushing it, I was better at baseball.”

In June, K.C. announced his decision to commit to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, where he’s looking to play tight end, the same position his father played in college.

Inspired by his father, guided by the careers of B-E football greats before him, K.C. said he’s just walking through doors God has opened for him.

“I’m honored to be put in the same category as these players,” he said. “It’s a blessing to do what they’ve done.”

Contact the writer: rwalker@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516.

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