Elloree's Ahmir Smith, 13, has been playing football since the age of 6 but was introduced to sports at 3.
A quarterback and defensive end, he has nurtured his football skills, putting in long hours of practice and training. He has played recreation-league football for many years and was picked for the Diamond Youth All American Bowl in Myrtle Beach after being noticed by scout Sylvester Marks.
Currently attending Elloree Elementary/Middle School as an honor student, Smith has been noticed by the coaching staff at Lake Marion High School. Smith said he believes football is in his genes.
“My dad and my coaches help me build my craft. It just comes natural to me,” he said.
Smith plays two positions but if he had to choose a favorite, he’d pick quarterback.
“I loved being the heart of the offense. I love to have the game in my hands,” he said.
He doesn't eat a special diet, but he follows a rigorous workout system four days a week -- running laps, stretching, splitting into groups based on position and wearing a weight vest.
As a running quarterback for the recreation league's Holly Hill Hawks, Smith has won four Most Valuable Player awards. With his father helping him on the field and his mother managing his success from behind the scenes, Smith dreams of a successful football career.
The Diamond League is known for choosing the most elite players and for “putting kids on the radar,” his mother, Diandra Hilliard, said.
Smith said one of his biggest accomplishments so far was playing in the Diamond Youth All American Bowl, scoring two touchdowns, including a rushing 6-pointer. Nearly 50 people from his community showed up to the game to support him. The bowl recruits players from third through ninth grades from all over the United States.
Smith said he’s grateful for the opportunity and the talent that he has so he can “put Santee on the map.”