COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Cannon Smith is the first, but the hope is he won't be the last.
On Wednesday, the standout tight end from Columbia's Hammond School signed to play football at Clemson. Smith is the first Hammond Skyhawk to ever sign on to play for one of the state's major football programs.
His coach and former Gamecock quarterback, Erik Kimrey, think it's a sign that the perception of private school football is changing.
"I think people are starting to understand that SCISA football is a very good place to play," Kimrey said. "We've got a lot of players this year who've signed Division One scholarships and it's happened over the last few years."
Smith is following in his father's footsteps. He also played for the Tigers in the early 1980's championship years. But, the six-foot-five, 240 pounder doesn't view himself as any kind of private school football trailblazer.
"I don't really think about it like that because great players come through all the time," Smith said. "But, it's a humbling feeling."
Smith says he was drawn to the "community" feeling at Clemson and is impressed with the coaching staff. He says he does not expect a position and coaches have told him he will remain at tight end.
Cannon Smith joins a fellow private school product in Clemson tight end Stanton Seckinger. The former Porter-Gaud standout caught four touchdowns for Clemson this past season, including the game-winner against Georgia.