Photo via Nellie Doneva, Abilene Reporter-News


Abram Smith left the nest of the Abilene Eagles gripping numerous records, despite rarely playing a complete game in his senior season – obtuse point differentials on the scoreboard that kept him planted on the bench. Against hapless opponents, Smith set program highs in rushing (4,953 career yards), all-purpose touchdowns (77) and most 100-yard games (33). A varsity running back since the last two games of his freshman year, Smith improved statistically in every category from his first year in high school, tallying 1,939 yards for 33 touchdowns in his final campaign and a 24-8 record in games he played.

“I think my senior year was my best season,” Smith said. “It started off really good and everything went well. It just didn’t end as well as I thought it would.”

The Baylor early enrollee is referring to the Eagles loss to eventual state champion DeSoto Eagles – a come from behind effort by Shawn Robinson and co. where Abilene failed to deliver a knockout punch after leading 24-7 at one point. The potential upset victory was avoided when DeSoto embarked on an improbable rally to stave off elimination, outscoring Abilene by 10 consecutive points in the final two minutes.

With the loss, Smith was forced to graduate without a State Championship appearance – a postseason feat that Abilene hasn’t accomplished since 2009.

“Just to know that it was the last game of high school… it was extremely heart breaking,” Smith said.

Despite the disappointment of a shortened playoff run, Smith quickly turned his sights to mulling over college offers, decommitting from Tulsa for other prospects. Shortly after Lake Travis won the DI UIL Title, highly-touted quarterback Charlie Brewer committed to Baylor – a program rejuvenated by a breadth of new coaches, resuscitated by the recruiting efforts of coach Matt Rhule. The Brewer decision initiated a flood of recruits to crowd the Waco campus; Smith was the sixth athlete to join the class.

The Bears are stacked at the running back position for the upcoming season: Lead rusher Terence Williams will return as the first option, JaMycal Hasty could share the remainder of the carries and Smith is eyeing the No. 3 slot; he has already gotten a head-start learning the offense as an early enrollee.

“Most of the schools were telling me I could go in and start from the get-go,” Smith said, skeptical of other universities’ optimistic tactics. “That’s unbelievable considering there are a lot of people up there that are working harder or have been there longer. I guess you could say they (Baylor) gave me the truth: you can come in and work hard, then there’s a chance that you can play come this fall.”

Smith continues to utilize lessons taught to him by the Abilene coaching staff and hopes that his leadership skills will carry him into the next level.

“I had to lead a couple new guys on the team last year that had never played in a varsity game before,” Smith said. “Me and some of the other seniors had to step up and be that role model. Be that hardworking guy that wanted our team to be the best that it could be. I really tried to help them the same way that the coaches motivated us. Going off of what the coaches said, putting a little bit of my input in there to be better on the field and be better in the classroom.”


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