Alex Huntley has always been a goal-oriented person and athlete.
The Hammond senior defensive tackle and South Carolina commit crossed off another one of his goals Monday when he received his jersey to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. The game has featured some of the best future college and NFL players over the years including Trevor Lawrence, Tim Tebow and Patrick Peterson.
Huntley, who is mostly known by his nickname Boogie, is the only player from the state of South Carolina picked for this year’s game, which is set for Jan. 4 and will be televised on NBC.
“Everything I wished for, worked for is starting to come true,” Huntley said. “This moment right here is something I never will forget.”
Huntley was joined in the jersey presentation by family members, and Hammond coaches, teachers and students. Roman Huntley, Alex’s older brother, isn’t shocked by what his brother has been able to accomplish over the years.
Roman recalled when his brother played in the freshman All-American game and vowed to make the big game as a senior. He also points to the 5 a.m. workouts his brother has been getting up for over the years and the dedication he has made over the years.
“It is crazy to see it all happen, but I can’t say I am all surprised,” said Roman, a student at South Carolina. “When you see him do this for so long, you see it as another stepping stone. Definitely a great deal. But if I can read Boogie’s mind, he is already thinking of the next thing.
“He is someone I really admire. Crazy that you find someone younger than you can take some things from.”
Hammond coach Erik Kimrey called Huntley a “program and culture changer” at Hammond, and his impact will be felt long after he graduates from the school. Kimrey praised Huntley’s work ethic and his desire to improve his craft.
Huntley has dropped 15-20 pounds in the offseason to become quicker, and Kimrey said they can use the 285-pounder at tight end if needed.
“He is teachable, which is the mark of humility, and when you have talent and humility in one human being then you have something special,” Kimrey said. “He has embraced the culture at Hammond and. We are all lucky here at Hammond School that we got to experience Boogie. … He’s going to be a guy who can get on the field as a freshman next year in the SEC.”
Huntley has been part of two state title teams at Hammond, and the Skyhawks are the big favorites to win their third straight SCISA 3A crown when the playoffs begin in two weeks. He won’t enroll early at USC and plans to play basketball in the winter and possibly lacrosse and track in the spring.
“I am trying to do it all and I’m trying to soak it all in,” Huntley said.