As a football player, and a lineman at that, Dakota Sneed regularly consumes large quantities of carbohydrates to fuel his workouts.
But he’s picky about what kind. Which is why, for example, fast-food restaurants are out.
It seems high-fat and high-calorie foods are not part of the program for the type of success for which the Edinburgh Community High School graduate is aiming. Planning and achieving goals are a big part of what make Sneed who he is.
This approach has served him well so far.
A three-sport athlete who was also class valedictorian, Sneed received a scholarship to play college football at Butler beginning in the fall.
His all-region selection in the sport also led to him being selected to the 45-player South roster for the 2014 Grange Insurance All-Star Football Classic, to be played July 18 at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
Selected by the South coaching staff led by Westfield High School coach Jake Gilbert, Sneed said this most recent honor isn’t necessarily one he expected.
“My coach (Edinburgh’s Bill Unsworth) had told me that since I made all-region I could be named to the team,” Sneed said. “I kind of thought it was a long shot at first, but I got a text from him after the coaches meeting and he told me I was chosen.
“I was excited because I’d like to see how I match up with big-school kids. I’m looking forward to playing with people I’ve never played with before. It will give me a little experience going into college, with playing against bigger school kids.”
Sneed, a lifelong Edinburgh resident who will be joined on the South roster by Center Grove players Dillon Dallas and Alex Woods, admitted he would like to make a statement on behalf of his school and community.
“I’d like to help show the bigger schools that just because Edinburgh is a small school, it doesn’t mean we don’t have talent,” he said. “We still have guys who work hard and do well. I’m used to a lot of bigger schools around here kind of shunning Edinburgh, but I’m ready to try and show well for Edinburgh.”
‘A bigger challenge’
Unsworth explained that while each squad in the North-South game has to have a player on it from each class, small-school players face an uphill battle to get selected.
“It is a bigger challenge,” he said. “When you have the meeting to vote for the region team (in January), it’s one of those things where everybody on your staff who is a member of the association can vote. The bigger schools are always going to have more coaches. We have a smaller staff and don’t have as many votes.
“Then from that team, the coaching staffs for the all-star teams select their rosters, and you’re asking coaches to vote on kids who they often haven’t seen play. Of course they will say one kid played with and against (Class) 6A players while Dakota played A.
“Everybody provides film, and when they looked at it they obviously saw something they liked. He has earned this.”
The team will train the week of the game at the University of Indianapolis. Sneed said a simple playbook has been distributed.
As he prepares for college play, he has been the more focused on nutrition.
“After basketball season ended I thought I needed to get in a little better shape to just get a little head start (for college),” he said. “So far it’s worked out for me pretty well. I’ve cut out fast food and more fattening foods and tried to eat a little healthier.
“I’ve tried to eat more green vegetables and more fruit and stuff like that, plus eating in moderation.”
‘Put on better weight’
The 270-pound offensive lineman said he isn’t trying to lose weight so much as to replace it.
“I’m trying to put on better weight. I’d rather have more muscle and more lean pounds than being fat or having a big gut,” he said. “I work out and do (Butler’s) strength program. So the more moderately I eat, it will help me bulk up in a better way.”
He credits his mother, Danielle, with getting him started in football, way back in first grade.
“My mom made me play in bantam league,” he said. “I didn’t want to, but she said, ‘I’ll give you one year and if you don’t like it you don’t have to keep playing.’ But I loved it. I started playing basketball in third grade. I didn’t do track until sophomore year, but I played baseball every summer before that.”
Sneed, who plans to focus his college studies on something related to the medical field, begins training camp at Butler on Aug. 13. While he played center at Edinburgh, he is unsure at this point where on the offensive line he will be utilized for coach Jeff Voris’ Bulldogs, who compete in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.
As always, he has a plan and some specific goals.
“I just want to give my best and make my mark, to not be a normal freshman who comes in and gets pushed around,” Sneed said about his opening campaign. “I want to be one of the guys that coaches will look to as someone who in the future could be a person to really help out the team. I am focused on making the travel team.”
He has goals beyond this first season, as well.
“I want to work to be a starter, one of the main offensive linemen at Butler,” he said. “It’d be nice to be a captain my senior year or something like that. I think I am a good leader, so I think I could do that.”
And as Sneed has shown in his academic and athletics careers thus far, he has a knack for achieving things that he thinks he can. It’s part of who he is.