Channing Tindall has fond memories of playing youth football in Columbia.
The Spring Valley standout linebacker remembers his father taking him out to play at Polo Park and coming up in the youth football program.
Tindall continued to work on his skills and has become one of the best players in the state. He was honored for that hard work by being named the inaugural Mr. Richland County Football Player of the Year on Thursday.
“I wasn’t really feeling football like that, but I saw how happy it made my father. So I kept on pushing. Then they put me on defense, and it was a whole different world. I ended up loving the sport,” Tindall said. “With the community giving this award, it is special. To recognize me from where I started from, it is a huge honor for me personally.”
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Tindall was one of five finalists for the award along with Ben Lippen’s Kyle Wright, Dreher’s Eric Ferguson, Columbia’s Nate Miller and Dutch Fork’s Alex Smith, who couldn’t attend because he is at the North-South football game. Each Richland County public and private school had a nominee for the award, which demonstrates great character, sharp intellect, community involvement, as well as academic and athletic excellence.
The award is a collaboration of the Richland County Recreation Commission and the City of Columbia Parks & Recreation and spearheaded by Chris Santino and Carey Rich. The two organizations hope it will be an annual thing not only for football but expand it to other sports.
Tindall has had an impressive senior season. He led the Vikings with 170 tackles and nine sacks in helping his team to an 11-win season.
The Division I prospect also was selected to the Shrine Bowl, U.S. Army All-American Bowl and is a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football, which will be awarded Saturday at Myrtle Beach.
Tindall hasn’t announced yet where he will play college football but hopes to have that wrapped up later this month. His top schools continue to be Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina, and he has met with coaches from those schools since his season ended last month.