Growing up down the street from Bryant-Denny Stadium, Hillcrest High School linebacker Keith Holcombe dreamed of someday wearing the Crimson and White. Now, Holcombe finally gets that chance when he signs his National Letter of Intent with Alabama, his father's alma mater.
"Nothing in life is given to you," Holcombe said. "You have to give it 110% with everything you do. (Signing with Alabama) is extremely special for me. Ever since I was little playing in the backyard with Max, my older brother, we would fight over who would be Alabama and who would be Auburn. Hearing stories about Coach (Bear) Bryant and the memories (my father) made through college. I'm extremely honored to be just to be able have the opportunity to follow in my dad's football steps."
But getting there wasn't easy.
"When I was about 9, I was diagnosed with diabetes," Holcombe said. "I'm not going to lie, most of the time it's not easy. It's something you have to deal with and it's something I'm not going to let slow me down or define me. I'm going to go out there and show everybody that ‘Yes, I am Keith Holcombe and, yes, I have diabetes,' but I'm not going to let that slow me down at all. I'm not going to allow it to slow me down."
And so far it hasn't.
"He doesn't miss a beat," said Hillcrest High School head football coach, Scott Martin. "He would go through practice and he would take a run off the field, then check his blood sugar. Then he would get back on the field and not miss any practice time. I can't remember one play in the two years I've been here that he missed a play because of an illness or anything like that."
Holcombe isn't letting his disease slow him down either.
"When you are happy with the choices you make, I consider that a win," Holcombe said. "(When you are) happy with where you are, that's a win. Winning is overcoming all the hardships in life. To not let this overcome me, this disease overcome me and to beat it (is) to win."
Holcombe will join the ranks of some of the nation's top recruits at the Capstone, but so far, he has already accomplished his biggest win of them all.