Many teenagers would love to be in Raeshawn Smith‘s position right now. Coaches from the likes of Duke, William & Mary and James Madison clamor for his services and the respect for the Chantilly defensive back/wide receiver’s skills is unanimous among coaches and players in the D.C. metro area.
Smith is plenty grateful, too, as he still displays the work ethic of a hungry reserve instead of the highly successful two-way player that he is. But even the senior admits that having a reputation as a lockdown cornerback isn’t always glamorous.
“Honestly, it gets kind of boring out there sometimes with teams not really throwing my way,” Smith said with a laugh. “But nonetheless, it’s always good to shut down one side of the field. My goal is to not let my man catch the ball. I’d like to have more opportunities for picks, but it is what it is.”
Through six games, Smith has been targeted just seven times and intercepted two of those passes. His play has helped Chargers get off to a 4-2 start and position themselves for a spot in the Virginia 6A playoffs.
“I use my eyes and feet a lot because those are the most important things in man coverage,” said Smith, who has started for Chantilly since midway through his sophomore year. “I know I have the speed to keep up with receivers, so if you add all that to the equation, you can do pretty well.”
Fridays aren’t always mundane for Smith, who said he’s having a lot of fun during his senior year on the gridiron. As the Chargers’ main target in the passing game and one of several capable rushers, Smith has helped jumpstart a Chantilly offense averaging 31 points.
In a season-opening win against Lee, Smith totaled five touchdowns (three receiving, two rushing) on just seven touches. Two games later, the senior caught nine passes for 165 yards and a score to rally Chantilly for a win versus South County. Altogether, Smith has totaled 661 yards and 12 touchdowns, one of which came on a punt return.
“I know what I’m capable of, and I was looking forward to having a big year on offense, too,” Smith said. “After that first game, it definitely boosted my confidence.”
Also aiding Smith is the wisdom gleaned from his coverage skills. By studying the tendencies of wide receivers in the past, Smith is aware of what works and doesn’t work for a player with his skillset.
“I basically used my athleticism and all the drills in the offseason at cornerback and channeled them into being a receiver,” Smith said. “A lot of it is the same style and of course, both corners and receivers work to catch the ball, so it’s not too much of a transition.”
While Smith has emerged this year on offense, the intrigue among college coaches stems from his defensive skills. So far, the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder has offers from William & Mary, Bucknell, Campbell, Davidson, Georgetown and Holy Cross and has attracted strong interest from Duke, James Madison and New Hampshire.
Before making his decision, Smith’s focus will be on helping the Chargers travail their next four games, which include contests against tough Robinson, Yorktown and Westfield teams.
“We can’t get discouraged by our two losses. We just have to keep working hard and making strides in the right direction,” Smith said. “We’re a good team with talent and all the intangibles, and if we keep working at it, we can compete with the best.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 68
Consecutive best-of-five matches won by No. 3 Sherwood’s volleyball team before falling to Damascus on Thursday behind Annika Schwartz’s 21 kills.
-St. Andrew’s soccer player Memuna McShane has had quite the journey from the civil war in Sierra Leone to the plush soccer fields of D.C. Chelsea Janes captures the senior’s story in this well-written article.
-Paul VI basketball players Tyler Scanlon and Joshua Reaves learned valuable lessons both on and off the court as counselors at a basketball camp this past summer on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.
-H.D. Woodson and Wilson face off Saturday with first place in the DCIAA Stars division on the line.
-No. 6 Briar Woods returns from its bye week to face Broad Run, which was the last local team to beat the Falcons back in 2011.
-Gwynn Park and Surrattsville put their undefeated records on the line in Saturday’s Prince George’s County football matchup.
-Since emerging victorious from a three-game, season-opening gauntlet, Lake Braddock has been on a tear, outscoring its last three opponents, 176-0.
-Centennial’s Walter Fletcher is shooting to break the 1,500-yard rushing mark this season.
-With four games left, Whitman looks to make a push into the Montgomery 4A playoffs.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
No. 8 Gonzaga (5-2) at No. 1 DeMatha (6-1), 7 p.m.
The top seed in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is on the line as these rivals face off at Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex.