ST. JOHNS – When it comes to the Bartram Trail offense, you can never truly know who will be the quarterback under center. Junior Riley Smith is one of three quarterbacks who rotates in and out for the Bears.
Smith, a 6’4″, 195-pounder is part of an impressive trio of signal callers along with junior Auburn commit Joey Gatewood and senior Jordan Smith. Riley Smith says Bartram Trail’s offense is unpredictable and that bodes well for this group.
“All three of us can throw the ball and put it in the right spot for the receivers”, Smith told Prep Sports Scouting. “Also, we can make plays with our feet and keep the defense guessing.
“Our offensive line and backs make this happen by the way they create holes for us and give us great protection every play.”
The Bears went 9-4 last season advancing to the 7A region final against Lake City Columbia. Smith said his role as a sophomore was to learn and become more familiar with the play calls to make a read on the defense.
He completed 12-of-19 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in limited time. A year later, Smith is much more confident in this offense.
“I now know the offense like the back of my hand and I feel more comfortable when out on the field during game time,” he said. “My hard work during the season and offseason has definitely paid off.”
After going to Jacksonville and taking care of Bishop Kenny 34-14 last Friday, Smith wants his group to carry the momentum to their ultimate goal, a trip to the state tournament.
As for his biggest games on his mind this season, Smith pointed to two back-to-back matchups from Week 5 to Week 6.
“I would say St. Augustine will definitely be a game that I mark off this season,” he said. “It’s always been one of my goals to be a part of the first team in Bartram Trail history to beat them. Also, rival Creekside is always an exciting game to play in.”
The Bears are run by a bright mind in 14-year head coach Darrell Sutherland, a guy who has led Bartram Trail to three state tournaments (2007, 2011, 2013). That includes a triple overtime loss, 38-35 to Armwood in 2013 in the title game.
“It’s truly a blessing to play for Coach Sutherland,” Smith said. “He has taught me so many life lessons that I will carry with me forever. I have grown so much under his coaching, not only as an athlete but as a man. He’s the type of guy that you’re blessed to be influenced by.”
Growing up Smith was all about sports. He started playing football at age 4, lining up as a quarterback and safety. On top of that, he played nearly every sport you can imagine including soccer, baseball, tennis, swimming, basketball and lacrosse.
Smith is a midfielder for the Bartram Trail varsity lacrosse team and is trying out as a power forward for the varsity basketball team. This kid is loaded with energy.
He says he gained confidence on the football field during little league playing against Joey Gatewood’s team.
“My team was down five points with two minutes left,” he said. “I drove the ball down the field and threw the game-winning touchdown as time expired.”
Smith called his accuracy and passion for the game his biggest strengths. As for his biggest weakness, that is his lack of experience.
Despite not seeing the field much in Bartram Trail’s high-powered offense, he already has two offers out from Citadel and UNC-Charlotte.
Florida State, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Boston College have shown interest in him as well.
Smith calls his dad his biggest role model in his life.
“He always works hard in everything he does and he taught me to give 100 percent effort all time. He never backs down from a challenge and fights through everything with poise and competitiveness. He always strives to be the best he can at anything he pursues.”
His ultimate goal from the start of his football career has been to play in the NFL.
Smith is well on his way as he gains more experience and knowledge alongside two talented quarterbacks. He has a big season in front of him.
Taking advantage of each and every snap whether he’s throwing the ball or handing it off, Riley Smith knows how important this is. He loves sports and has a bright football IQ which will help him progress from this point on.
Favorite players to watch – Tim Tebow, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning
Playlist before games – Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne and 21 Savage
Favorite movies – Waterboy, The Longest Yard and Friday Night Lights.
Game film: Smith’s Hudl tape
Photo credit: St. Augustine Record
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.