You know looking back through this whole journey, it is kind of funny to think I had my first experience with getting recruited before I had even put on a set of pads.
It was my first flag football game. I scored like two touchdowns, but toward the end of the game, I ended up tackling one of the guys even though it was flag football. There was a little league coach out there watching the game and after he saw me take down another kid, he went right to my parents and next thing I knew I was playing tackle football.
When I first started, they wanted me to play both sides of the ball, because well, I was pretty good at everything, but there was just something about being a quarterback. I needed to touch the ball, and I loved touching the ball as much as I could. Every play, every chance I could get I wanted to be on the ball.
It was then that I knew I was always going to be a quarterback. I tried playing other sports when I was younger, like basketball at the YMCA, but football was always it for me. I just kept coming back to football.
Even though it was tough growing up there, I had people around me that taught me how to be a good man. My parents are great people. They came to every one of my games when I was a kid and in high school, same goes for my brothers’ games. We didn’t have much, but they made sure we knew they supported us and I can’t wait to repay them.
When I think of the person that I have become, I am definitely more like my Dad. If you pull up a picture of him, it’s basically me and I know I will look even more like him a few years down the line. He don’t say much, but when he does, it is more calm and collected which is how I am too.
I have two older brothers and for a while we were just a family of five, but my Mom recently adopted three little girls. I love being a big brother. They are nine, seven and six years old. They are a handful, but becoming a big brother has been a blessing. When I am home, I love them calling me “big brother” and anytime they get in trouble, they try and come be under me. I’m their protector.
My family keeps me focused, they always have. My big brothers are great brothers, always checking on me, making sure I am OK and helping me point my life in the right direction. They are my protectors.
When I got to high school at Hallandale, I was pretty skinny. I would walk around with my shirt off and I was probably only around 130 pounds. One day, my high school coach was like, “you know what, I am going to start calling you Snoop.” Obviously, it stuck with me.
High school was a grind. I started all four years, I was doing my thing and then I won the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year. It was pretty tight because Florida is big for football.
You don’t really get that recognition on how good you are doing on a daily basis, but getting that award in high school, like I was the only football player to get it in the whole state – that made me feel good.
I had never seen mountains before, man I had never been further west than Texas. I came out here on an unofficial visit first and just thought to myself like “wow, I could see this every day.” Utah was one of my biggest offers at first, and it just had this family feeling, something I knew I’d need living that far from home.
Demari Simpkins and I ended up coming on an official visit together. We both talked about the mountains, and he was like “man, I think I’m about to commit.” It was so funny because I had the same thought in my head, but I was afraid to say it out loud. At that point, I knew that he being confident in his decision was a sign for me, and I ended up committing on the spot during that visit.
My love for Utah grew after that moment. Even in Florida when I would be playing games, I would have Utah fans coming up to me telling me I was doing a good job, cheering me on. After I won Gatorade Player of the Year, all of these schools started coming out of nowhere, even though I had been playing the same way my whole career, but Utah was there from the beginning.
How lucky am I that I got to come to college and play with two of my friends? It has been a blessing to play four years with Demari and Zack. Sometimes you play a long time with certain people and then you split ways, but we just happened to come all together and spent four more years together.
They call us the Hallandale Trio, we are just tight like that. It was such a comfort, making that transition from high school to college, it could be a big transition knowing you are by yourself, but I had two other friends here with me right away. I knew everything was going to be OK.
Why U Play
I have been playing football since I was three years old. I’ve been hurt a couple of times, but I’ve worked too hard to just give up because of some injuries. I’m going to keep working until I can’t work anymore. I’m going to work hard every single game, because I just love football and I can’t stay away.
My Mom used to tell me that ever since I could pick up a ball, it was always a football. I would sleep with it, I would carry it around with me. Every Christmas they would ask me what I wanted, and I would tell them a football.
There is just something about it. The feeling of scoring a touchdown, it gives me an out of this world feeling. It is a feeling that I don’t think everybody gets on a daily basis. I have put so much time into it, through ups and downs, and I just want to keep working. It’s what keeps me going.