Coach Spotlight: Ahmad Christian

Ahmad Christian, Jacksonville-Trinity Christian Academy, Fla., received just as many offers to play baseball as football. While he was sure he wanted to pursue both sports in college, he wasn't sure where until he traveled to Columbia, S.C. on an official visit and decided to become a Gamecock. His high school coach, Verion Dorminey, saw a big future in Christian early on.

"Ahmad's been on our team since the 8th grade," said Dorminey. "He started since the 9th grade. He's just a natural, exceptional athlete. The way he moves his hips, you can't teach that. We knew he'd be special and is probably one of the best, if not the best, athlete I've ever coached."

Despite having offers from such big SEC schools like South Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, as well as North Carolina, Louisville, and South Florida, Dorminey feels Christian hasn't gotten the press he's deserved.

"With baseball he wasn't able to go to the summer combines and one-a-day camps to boost his status," said Dorminey. "In my opinion, and in the opinion of the coaches here, he's the best cornerback in the nation. We've seen all the top ones play."

Christian, 5-10, 190, didn't come off the field much this year for the Conquerors. He was part of a lethal running back duo which included Andrew Buie (a West Virginia commitment) and was a main stay in the secondary. On special teams he returned punts and kickoffs. The Gamecocks are looking at Christian as a cornerback and on special teams.

"At corner he does a good job pressing his man, covering a lot of field, and if we're in zone he has good change of direction speed to get there to make a play," said Dorminey. "He runs a legit low 4.4 in the 40. In baseball they run the 60-yard dash and his best time is a 6.25."

On offense, Christian rushed for 937 yards and 14 touchdowns. On defense he made 46 tackles, two interceptions, five pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. On special teams he had 263 return yards. Christian even threw a 55-yard pass for a touchdown this past season.

"This was a group of 16 seniors who lost in the state championship game a year ago and were determined to get back and win it," said Dorminey. "They did what they set out to do, and Ahmad was a big part of it with his leadership and play on the field."

Trinity Christian fell to American Heritage in 2009 in Orlando's Citrus Bowl. Both teams made it back in 2010, but the Conquerors would walk away this time as champions with a 27-10 win.

"Ahmad was outstanding in the game," said Dorminey. "He made an interception in the first half that shut their drive down. He delivered some great licks on which ended their top running back's night."

Christian was honored with 1st team All-State (1A) and named to the Jacksonville Area's Super 11. After the celebration, the time had come for him to make a decision on his college future.

"A big part of his commitment to South Carolina was he had a good relationship with Steve Spurrier Jr.," said Dorminey. "One of our coaches here, Gus Scott, played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, so there was that connection. It didn't hurt either that they won the National Championship in baseball last year."

People may start wondering if Steve Spurrier and Ray Tanner are recruiting in unison. Earlier, the football Gamecocks added Shon Carson to their recruiting class who also plans to pursue baseball at the school.

"Ahmad comes for a single parent home," said Dorminey. "He's very quiet and very respectful. He'll be fine at South Carolina.

"I absolutely expect him to see playing time as a freshman, in the secondary and on special teams. Right now he's lifting and gearing up for baseball. He'll graduate June 1st, a Thursday, and I'd imagine he'll be in Columbia soon afterward."

Trinity Christian will have a program on signing day to honor their athletes signing scholarships. With Christian and Buie, they also have William Anthony, who plans on signing with the Naval Academy.

Christian plays shortstop for the baseball team.

Ahmad Christian

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