Even as I type this, I don’t think it really has hit me yet. This has been a dream and a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, and it has arrived. The feeling is surreal, but what I feel more than anything is excitement: I’m excited to be here, for the opportunity that I’ve been given and most importantly what’s to come.

And with that, let’s get to work.

I’m incredibly blessed to introduce myself as the Alabama football beat writer for The Athletic. Working for a company like The Athletic is a dream fulfilled, and to top it off, covering Alabama, the premier brand in college football and a program that has been deeply intertwined with my life as a college football enthusiast from day one.

My name is Kennington Lloyd Smith III, or as SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum called me in January 2021, “An award winner and the best name in the industry.” I’m a suburban Atlanta native who has spent the past two years in Iowa City, Iowa, covering University of Iowa football and men’s basketball. My time in Iowa was amazing, but returning to my native footprint to cover SEC football was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

From a young age, I knew sports journalism was my calling. My journey began as a seventh-grader at Whitewater Middle School in Fayetteville, Ga., where I created a proposal to my assistant principal asking to announce our school’s football games. That turned into my first paying job covering local high school sports as a ninth-grader. It has only been up from there.

I attended the University of Georgia, where I honed my skill. An early lesson learned: Personal fandom bias and objective journalism don’t mix. So much so that team logos in class weren’t permitted (you would be sent home for the day). I pride myself on professionalism and always will conduct myself as such.

My career has taken me all over the map, from New York City as a Sports Illustrated intern to Rio de Janeiro as a Paralympic reporter for the Associated Press to Anderson, S.C., as a high school sports reporter to Iowa and now Tuscaloosa, Ala. I’ve evolved as a reporter through the years, but what never has changed is my passion for my job.