BEAUFORT — Kam Smith was concerned colleges wouldn’t come calling after missing five games his senior year.
Throw in the fact that he’s 5-6, and he may have had a right to stress about it.
However, neither appeared to be an issue as he got plenty of recruiting attention and ultimately decided to play football at St. Augustine’s.
“I was surprised I got as much attention as I did with the amount of games I missed,” the recent East Carteret graduate said. “I was worried because I didn’t have that much film to put out. That put me behind. My size played a part in it, too.”
The shifty receiver took advantage of the time he did have on the field, going for six touchdowns and 314 yards on 19 catches in eight games.
“Once he gets the ball in his hands, he’s fast,” East coach B.J. Frazier said.
Smith went down with a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee late in the season. He returned for the final four games but was operating at less than 100 percent.
“I was rehabbing, and I still rehabbed once I came back, but I was probably 80 percent when I got back,” he said.
His best performance of the season came in the Mariners’ 44-13 victory over Hobbton in the first round of the 1A playoffs, going for 95 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
East’s season came to an end in the second round at Holmes. The Mariners ended their 2018 campaign with an 8-5 mark.
Performances like the one he had versus Hobbton had Methodist, Guilford, Greensboro and St. Augustin’s showing interest after the season.
“I talked to a lot of schools, but St. Augustine’s stood out,” he said. “I felt the most comfortable there. My mom went there, my aunt went there, so I’ve visited the campus before.”
Smith said his familiarity with the school and the chance to be a part of a rebuilding team played a role in him joining the Division II program.
The Falcons weren’t able to build on one of the best seasons in recent memory this past year, going 2-7. They went 5-5 in 2017 to finish .500 for the first time since 2012.
Smith is expected to play receiver as the program tries to get back on track.
“It’s awesome,” Frazier said. “He really wanted to keep playing, so he’s excited to get this opportunity. I thought it was going to be a challenge for him with his size and his injury, but he works his tail off, and I’m glad he had some options.”
Smith’s athleticism and academic work made him an attractive recruit. He gave the East boys track and field team its top placing at the 1A regional with a third-place leap in the triple jump with a 40-foot, 4-inch tale of the tape.
“William Peace came in late and offered him a track deal,” Frazier said. “And he took care of business in the classroom, so there was no problem getting accepted. I knew that would be the case.”
Smith said he plans on majoring in exercise science. He’s excited to get on campus and get to work.
“Hopefully, I can start as a freshman,” he said. “I just want to get some playing time. I’m going to work hard in camp.”