Fifteen-year-old Monroe native Efton Chism III has only been playing football the past two years, but is already making a name for himself nationally.
Chism has been playing basketball and baseball for years, but had to wait until his last year in middle school to tackle football.
“I’ve always wanted to play,” he said. “My parents just didn’t want me to get hurt.”
Chism is the son of Kristy and Efton Chism II, and his sister, Camille, 16, plays varsity basketball.
Chism started this year on Monroe High School’s varsity football team as the only freshman on the roster.
When USA Football held tryouts at Archbishop Murphy for the U.S. Under-16 National Team, Chism showed them what he’s got.
“I tried out for that and they liked me, and they asked me to go to Ohio,” he said, “and I went to that camp and I did well there too, and then they invited me to the one in Texas.”
Chism, who plays defensive back and also as a slot wide receiver, had the chance to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and play the International Bowl VIII at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, where the National Team defeated Ontario 63-0 on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
“It was amazing,” Chism said. “I met a lot of new good friends, keep in contact with them still. There were some real good kids out there.”
The coaches Chism met during USA Football camps were mostly from top high schools across the country, he said, but also some from colleges and former NFL players.
“I learned a lot of different techniques from the defensive back coaches,” Chism said.
What helped him through everything with the U.S. Under-16 National Team, he said, was the support he received from Bearcats coach and former Seattle Seahawk Michael Bumpus.
“I told him that I was trying out, and he wished the best for me,” Chism said, “and I made the team and he was really excited for me.”
Chism started in eight of Monroe’s 11 varsity football games this past season. He said he thinks his teammates were very supportive of his making the National Team.
“I think they’re proud of me, because they all know I’m a freshman and I always keep it low profile,” he said, “and then I went out there and they heard about it. I think they’re proud of me.”
Chism will be invited back for USA Football tryouts next season, and is currently showing his stuff on the basketball court. The Bearcats beat out the Jackson Timberwolves 70-58 on Friday, Jan. 20.