Friday, December 9, 2011

Man poses as teen to play football

Man poses as teen to play football
Man poses as teen to play football. DALLAS - A Texas man seemingly desperate to pull on the pads may actually be looking to pull the wool over people's eyes.

Police say 22-year-old Taylor Markeith Smith has tried almost anything to play high school football. School officials said he solicited at least 13 different high schools in Dallas, Garland and Richardson using different identities. To many coaches, Smith looked like the next star football player.

"He met the eye test - let's put it that way," said Jim Ledford, football coach at Berkner High School in Richardson. "As a coach, you see a kid walk in and he's 6-foot-5, 220. Your eyes light up and automatically think defensive end, tight end."

Ledford said Smith told him he was 16 when he showed up at the school in 2008. He said his parents had died.

"We all may be tough guys in some respect, but we all have a soft heart for kids," Ledford said. "Smith was an extremely smart kid that articulated himself very, very well."

Ledford put Smith in pads and let him onto the field for two-a-days. The 30-year veteran coach saw talent and suspected Smith was older than 16. Smith showed a birth certificate that appeared to prove his age, but administrators soon saw evidence that it was altered or forged. They didn't let Smith in. He left and never came back. He was actually 19 at the time, records show.

"Next thing you know, you find out he's been pulling that everywhere and he may be a con artist," said Ledford, who talked to several other coaches at different schools.

Some schools let Smith practice with the football team, not realizing he had also visited other schools telling a similar story. South Oak Cliff High School officials said he brought someone posing as a district case worker. Smith actually attended Samuell High School, said Dallas Independent School District officials.

"I thought we had a troubled kid," Ledford said. "I'm just glad we caught it and it didn't affect our kids one way."

Smith also visited Richardson, Seagoville, North Dallas, Hillcrest, Townview Magnet, Sunset, W.T. White, Molina, Lake Highlands and Garland high schools.

Neither Dallas police nor Dallas Independent School District are investigating the incidents as a crime at this point.

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