A top student and football star in South Central L.A., Kitam Hamm is one of a growing number of high school athletes who face life-and-death decisions every day as they try to survive in gang-infested communities
JEFF BENEDICT, ARMEN KETEYIAN
Sports Illustrated CBS NEWS
The iPhone beside Kitam Hamm's bed vibrates at 6:15 on a recent morning, stirring him awake. A car alarm pulses in the alley and police sirens scream past, noises so familiar that they go unnoticed. Squinting, Hamm flips on the light. Letters from college football recruiters—all neatly taped to the wall next to his bed—come into focus: Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, Columbia and seven more. They are the first thing the 18-year-old Hamm sees every morning, a daily reminder that he's one step closer to making it out of Compton, Calif.