The Backbone of Benedictine
By Barry Every
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Picking up the slack for the Cadets will be Terrick Smalls, Jr.; the 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns last year.
Benedictine Military School recently completed a magical (15-0/7-0) season, capturing their second State Championship in the last three years. Coach Danny Britt will now be looking to replace several key starters from that squad. Gone are highflying John Wesley Kennedy, III and backfield mate Tyleek Collins. Kennedy is headed to Georgia Southern while Collins transferred to Hapeville Charter for his senior season.
Picking up the slack for the Cadets will be Terrick Smalls, Jr.; the 5-foot-10, 205-pound running back averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns last year. Even more impressive was his performance in the state quarterfinal and semifinal games where he rushed for 233 yards on just 20 carries. With Kennedy and Collins gone, Smalls and Travis Blackshear will most definitely get more touches in 2017.
Smalls’ ability to shine on the gridiron did not stop when the season came to its dramatic finish in the Georgia Dome. He ended up being the leading rusher in the Georgia Elite Classic this past December, rushing for 115 yards and one score on seven carries. He then backed that up with an impressive showing at the MVP Camp in Jonesboro, Georgia. Smalls earned RB MVP honors while walking away with the distinction of being the “Fastest Man” after blazing a 4.43 and a 4.42 40-yard dash.
His combination of size and explosiveness make him an ideal candidate as an every down back at the next level, and one school has already taken notice. Appalachian State decided to toss their hat in the ring for his services recently with others soon to follow.
“Coach Justin Watts of App State is doing a really good job of making me feel wanted,” Smalls said. “I also like how Coach John Hunter of Wake Forest is coming on strong and showing a lot of interest. But really right now I am interested in any school that offers me a scholarship. I’d especially like to hear from Alabama, FSU and Georgia.”
Smalls was recently in Winston-Salem visiting the Demon Deacons and will be heading up I-16 this coming Saturday to spend time with the Georgia Southern coaching staff. Smalls is also planning unofficial visits to Appalachian State and Mercer.
Academics will not be an issue for college coaches looking for a dynamic back. Smalls sports a 3.2 GPA and made a 920 on the SAT on the first take. But to give fans a little insight into his inner drive for success, he plans on retaking the SAT in May with the goal of scoring over 1,000.
“Terrick is a tremendous young man and has great upside as a football player,” Coach Britt said. “He has great speed and strength and will continue to grow as a football player because of his superior attitude.”
One thing that is paramount to Benedictine is the desire to win back-to-back State Championship. This is something that has never been done in their storied history.
“In order for us to go back-to-back we’ll have to work twice as hard in the weight room and the film room,” Smalls said. “We have to stay focused in practice and keep tuned into the coaches at all times.”
You just have to admire Smalls team-first attitude. Leaders are born and this young man has all the characteristics to lead the Cadets on another long run.
Before concluding the interview Smalls had one more important message to share. And this goes a long ways towards showing character and commitment.
“Two players all college coaches should keep an eye on for 2019 are defensive lineman Eric Hicks and defensive back Jakeen Harris,” Smalls said. “The cupboard is not bare at Benedictine and these two guys are going to really show out this fall, helping us win football games.”