Ok so here is my last semester story on a football player at my school.. He recently got a scholarship to Utah were he will play football and continue his quest on becoming an NFL star. .. warn you this isn't the edited version taht was in the paper so there might be some grammer errors! lol
For Antoine Smithson sports has been a part of his life since he was six years old.
It also has made him what he is today, a respectful person, a leader, and a man who doesn’t give up on anything.
Hopefully, one day these qualities will lead him to the next step of playing in the National Football League.
Smithson grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and life there wasn’t easy.
He is the second oldest out of eight children.
He has battled to stay out of trouble to make his life better.
Playing sports, especially football has made him think of life in different ways.
When receiving the opportunity to leave Maryland, he took it.
But before he left, he made sure his name was implanted in the minds of those he left.
While in Maryland at Fredrick Douglass high school, he played every sport from baseball, basketball, and football.
He wasn’t able to play his first two years of high school football because of injuries, but he would play his last two years there and become an all-star player.
It was in high school when he basketball coach, Rodney Coffield, became his mentor. Coffield was an instant impact on Smithson’s life.
“It was him, who made sure I wasn’t messing up in school. He was like another father to me,” said Smithson.
During his high school years, he was also on a summer basketball traveling team, the AAU. During these travels, he played in states such as Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, New York, and DC.
His senior year proved to be his best season in football.
At the homecoming game he scored six touchdowns, two touchdowns shy from his brothers record of eight in a game.
The coaches took him out in the third quarter, because the team had made playoffs and they didn’t want to chance him getting hurt.
The same year he joined the all-star team, and without practicing with the team due to basketball season, he was in the starting roster and was Co-MVP.
In the end, football would be the only sport Smithson would continue to play.
After the passing of his grandmother, he lost his interest in baseball
He knew he wouldn’t go far with basketball because of his height and small frame at the time.
Smithson knew he had to leave and prove he can be better.
“ A lot of kids don’t come out of Maryland, but with playing football I did,” Smithson said.
It was when one of his cousins Quinton Garrus, who was playing at Pierce College, that allowed Smithson to decide to come to California in search of his dream to continue playing football and getting an education.
Coming to California wasn’t a hard transition for Smithson, because he came with two of his cousins who were also searching of the same opportunity.
Now they all attend and play sports for ELAC, Devon Redd, Quinton Garrus, and Antonio Slater.
After the recruiter for Pierce College left to come to ELAC, Smithson and his cousins stayed loyal and followed him here.
Now living right behind the field he plays on everyday, Smithson is getting the opportunity to better his life by staying in school and playing the game that brought him this far.
“Football has been a big part of my life.” Smithson said “I have related it to many life situation.
“With playing football you don’t give up and it’s the same thing with life, you cant give up on it.”
Playing at ELAC his freshmen year, Smithson was a impact from the start.
He became one of the captains, and the first two games of the season he scored four touchdowns as a receiver and had close to 500 yards.
The season ended with him having 1,300 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.
Coming into his sophomore year as a returner, Smithson knew he had to come in as a more of a leader to the players.
He again is a starter playing running back, special teams, punt return, and kick return, and he is still one of the captains.
Knowing that at the moment the team has gone 0-15 record with no wins from his first year to this year, Smithson stays positive.
“Being a leader on this team I have to motivate my team and not let them give up. I have to push myself even harder when I’m on the field and show the team they need to have heart and play all 60 minutes,” said Smithson.
As for this season in the last five games, Smithson has 34 receptions, 563 yards as a receiver, 787 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
Smithson is ranked second in the state for receiving.
Not only has football helped him academically, but it also brings hope that his younger siblings will follow his lead, and make their lives better.
Smithson said, “My sisters and brothers motivate me everyday. They are always on my mind.”
He wants them to get out of the Baltimore and see what is out in the world, and for them to reach for their goals.
For Smithson he has accomplished what many probably thought he wouldn’t.
He is here now and making a name for himself in California and while doing so he hopes to go to a four-year university with a scholarship and major in accounting or business.
He has already been approached by the University of Colorado, Organ and Kansas State, by the time he is finished here Smithson will have the keys to success and hopes of one day playing for the NFL.