One of the best two-way football players in the Southern Section has officially announced his collegiate destination.
Golden Valley senior Ajani Smith signed his letter of intent to play football at Black Hills State in South Dakota.
Smith announced his decision on social media Tuesday night, after fielding several offers.
The Yellowjacket culture stood out among the many to Smith.
“The culture there, it seemed like they had a good culture going with a young squad, too,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of freshmen and sophomores on the team and I feel like I’ll fit in with them. the coaches also feel like my coaches here at Golden Valley.”
Smith will have similar coaches and teammates that he’s comfortable with but he is more than familiar with one Yellowjacket. The commitment will reunite Smith with his former Grizzly quarterback Jaxson Miner. The two have played together for years and most previously in the 2021 CIF Division 6 playoffs opening round against La Mirada. Miner hit his top receiver for three of Smith’s four TDs in the game.
The two-way standout is proud of where he came from. But even after losing the CIF championship game by one point this year and numerous private schools tried to draw him away from the Grizzlies, he wouldn’t have done it any other way.
“Everything went how I wanted to apart from the championship game result, but everything else was good,” Smith said. “I’m happy that I came here and didn’t leave. I had multiple high schools hit me up and wanted me. But I said, ‘I’ll stick it out and stay here.’ So, I’m happy I did that.”
Smith has only been in the snow a few times but is excited to live out one of his many dreams and play collegiate football. For now, he’ll focus on his track and field season before heading up to South Dakota over the summer. Smith will suit up for the Yellowjackets to face a Division 1 opponent in the University of St. Thomas on Sept. 2.