CARBON HILL — To say the Carbon Hill High School football team will miss Alex Atkins this season would be an understatement.
Atkins has been a constant factor for the Bulldogs since he joined the varsity team in the eighth grade. The recent graduate was the three-time Daily Mountain Eagle Defensive Player of the Year while wreaking havoc on opponents.
He now looks to make the same kind of impact at the prep school level. Atkins signed with the Birmingham Cardinals Prep on Wednesday.
Atkins will be able to play for the team this season without losing a year of college eligibility. He will attend Bevill State while playing for the Cardinals in Pelham.
“It’s close to home and I got a full-paid scholarship to Bevill. Birmingham Prep isn’t a school, but they are connected to community colleges,” said Atkins, who made his decision in May.
At Carbon Hill, Atkins helped lead the Bulldogs to their first playoff berth in 20 years in 2019. He was a first-team All-State linebacker as a sophomore and a second-team All-State selection each of the last two years.
“(My time at Carbon Hill) went by quick, but I enjoyed every minute of it,” said the six-foot, 215-pound Atkins, who has added 20 pounds of muscle since the end of the 2019 season.
Carbon Hill head coach Chavis Williams said Atkins was a coach on the field.
“I can’t say enough about him,” said Williams, who coached Atkins as an assistant before being moved to head coach last year. “He’s a leader on and off the field. One of the things that made him so good was his ability to study film and put it to use on the field.”
Atkins was never at 100 percent for much of the last two seasons, but still finished each season with well over 100 tackles.
“His whole junior year he was hurt, but he never complained. He had 20-tackle games on one leg. He’s a competitor and he’s a team-first guy. We will miss his leadership and toughness,” Williams said.
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