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Yohance Salimu loves hitting quarterbacks, but his 4.2 GPA is going to lead him to the Air Force Academy to study Electrical Engineering.
Junior Alexis won All City honors last year, and his 3.4 GPA makes him very attractive to numerous college football programs.
Crenshaw's Yohance Salimu and Junior Alexis prove that the smartest players are on the line.
By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Many people view the quarterback as the smartest player on the football team, but people do not realize that in a lot of cases the highest grade point averages (GPA) comes from the line.
"If you look at any team on the next level any coach will tell you that the highest grade point average is on the offensive line," Crenshaw line coach Manuel Chachere said.
Chachere can point out to Crenshaw linemen Yohance Salimu and Junior Alexis to prove his point.
Salimu carries a 4.2 GPA and Alexis a 3.4.
"It's a position that traditionally has the highest grade point average," Chachere said. "These two guys typify that. I think we'll have a successful season. It was the case last year that the highest grade point average was the offensive line, and that continues."
Salimu, whose name is Swahili, plays nearly every position on both the offensive and defensive line.
"I'm the guy that they send out there when they need the job done," Salimu said. "I play what the coaches want me to play."
But Salimu clearly prefers to play defense.
"My favorite thing about football is hitting quarterbacks," Salimu said. "It's glorifying to hit somebody who goes all day throughout their practices not being touched by other teammates because they do not want to injury their quarterback. It's glorifying to say that I hit that pencil neck quarterback who thought he was too good to be hit."
Salimu did not start on the defensive line last year, but he was still able to rack up five sacks. He's looking for a much higher total this year with an expanded role.
Academically, Salimu takes all honors and AP classes, and he loves science and math the most. He feels that by teaching he can master the material.
"I enjoy tutoring my fellow peers," Salimu said. "It helps me to grasp the concept better when I'm teaching it. It makes me learn by teaching."
Salimu plans to go to the Air Force Academy next year, where he will major in aerospace engineering. He worked for Aerospace Corporation, the defense contractor for the Air Force, this summer as an electrical engineer.
"We mostly put together circuits and put together certain pieces and testing certain technology that will be used for satellites," Salimu said.
Salimu is the captain of the robotics team at Crenshaw high school. As much as he loves football, school clearly comes first. Football is important to him, but it may take a back seat when he goes to college.
Alexis on the other hand, he has plans on making it to the league. He plays on both the offensive and defensive line, but, like Salimu, his passion is on the defensive side of the ball.
"You get to create havoc and disorganize the offense," Alexis said.
Alexis was awarded with All City honors last season, and he is really looking to have an even better year as a senior.
With his good grades and his abilities he has attracted a number of colleges. He is on the radar of Arizona, Washington State, and San Diego St.
Many great high school football players fall through the cracks because of sub par grades, but colleges will not have to worry about that with a good student like Alexis.
Alexis' favorite subject is math because it is easy for him to understand, and he uses good time management to stay on top of his studies.
"I get most of my work done when I get home," Alexis said. "Every now and then I have to stay up late."
The dream of playing college football and a potential NFL career motivates Alexis to do well in school.
"Football helps keep me on track and get done what needs to get done," Alexis said.
Alexis has worked hard this offseason to ensure his future in football. He said that he's bigger, stronger, and faster this year.
What ever the future holds for Salimu and Alexis, it is clear that they will make their community proud by going off to college and becoming productive members of society.
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