With two dual-sport athletes already in the fold, South Carolina’s football program is getting serious interest from a third.
The Gamecocks already have commitments from Timber Creek (N.J.) wide receiver Damiere Byrd and Lake City tailback Shon Carson. Byrd plans to run track and Carson will play baseball in Columbia.
Trinity Christian (Fla.) defensive back Ahmad Christian said late last month he will take an official visit to USC. The 5-foot-11, 188-pounder is also planning to double-up in school, playing both football and baseball.
“He’s just a great athlete,” Trinity Christian coach Verlon Dorminey said. “Of course, they wouldn’t be recruiting him at South Carolina if he wasn’t. The kid is a great football player, but he’s a great baseball player, too. He’s got some real upside there, and we’re hearing he’s got a chance to be drafted in the top-two rounds next year.”
Depending on when he comes off the board next June, the Gamecocks face the potential loss of Carson if he’s drafted high enough. They could be in a similar position with Christian, though his talent may make it worth the risk.
In football he’s a shutdown cover for Trinity Christian, a small-school power in the state of Florida. The Crusaders are 11-2 and will meet American Heritage (Fla.) for the Class 1A state championship on Friday in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.
Christian has been a big part of the team’s success.
He’s typically matched up against the opposition’s best receiver – though sometimes he’s used as an extra linebacker – and doubles as a running back. He often lines up at quarterback in the Wildcat formation and returns both kicks and punts. Last year he had a 99-yard scoring run, the longest in state championship game history, against American Heritage in a 30-20 loss.
He is rated as the nation’s 56th-best athlete and the 90th-best player in talent-rich Florida by Rivals. Scout lists him as the nation’s 47th-best corner. ESPN has him as the nation’s 78th-best athlete but says his future is likely at corner.
It’s Christian’s sub-4.5 speed that likely is attracting the attention of college defensive coaches. Though he could be a useful all-purpose tailback in the right offense, it’s hard to imagine him becoming an every-down back in a conference like the SEC. However, some coaches seem to believe he could become a shutdown corner.
“He’s a great football player,” Dorminey said. “He’ll end up making somebody a great defensive back. He’s got great skills and great hips. He really understands the game. He’s a lot of fun to coach. He’s a really good kid, who is respectful and works hard. Sometimes we have to coach turds, but he isn’t a turd.
“The kid can really fly. [Coaches love] the way he moves. It’s hard to find kids with really good hips and good feet that can cover. This kid is just fluid and has great closing speed.”
Christian is a power-hitting shortstop for Trinity Christian’s baseball program. He could eventually make the transition to the outfield. Dorminey said that Christian is intent on playing both sports in college, and many schools have offered scholarships in just baseball. Others are willing to let him play both sports.
Auburn, Louisville, Miami and Southern Mississippi are the other schools that have offered Christian in football. Florida, a school that Christian has a lot of interest in, has only offered in baseball, though the football team is still recruiting him