Heading back home: Cedric Smith commits to play football at the University of Guelph


Courtesy Cedric Smith

Cedric Smith jumps for the football to make the catch. Cedric committed to play football at the University of Guelph — after playing the sport for over 10 years, he is excited to start the next chapter in his journey.

Senior Cedric Smith grew up surrounded by football. His dad played professionally for the Calagary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, and Cedric remembers the constant lull of the television at home as his father cheered loudly for whichever teams were playing. 

With this childhood, it’s no surprise that Cedric gravitated towards the sport at a young age — and he’s been playing ever since. Now, almost 10 years later, he has committed to play football at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. 

Studying internationally may seem like an unconventional choice, but Cedric is actually heading back home. He lived in Oakville, Ontario, up until his sophomore year of high school, when his family moved to the Bay Area for his mom’s work. Cedric joined the Los Altos High School varsity football team as a junior, where he played as a wide receiver and defensive safety. However, he wasn’t able to participate in the team’s season this year due to scheduling conflicts with training camp for his collegiate team.

“During that summer, I hated moving to California,” Cedric said. “I really didn’t want to leave my friends and home behind. However, looking back on it, I really enjoyed my junior year and California is super cool.”

Like most kids, Cedric grew up playing multiple sports, such as lacrosse, ice hockey and of course, football. In fact, alongside Cedric’s rising talent for football was his aptitude for hockey. He played both sports at the highest competitive level, playing in both the AAA hockey and AAA football Canadian leagues. However, he ultimately shifted his focus solely towards the game of football at the age of twelve. 

“I was attracted to the team aspect of the game and the fact that it was so physical,” Cedric said. “However, at the end of the day, it came down to the fact that I just wasn’t having as much fun playing hockey and that’s why I chose football.”

Cedric’s first experience with college football was actually at the University of Guelph in the summer after his freshman year of high school. He attended a football camp there, which allowed him to become familiar with both the campus layout and the football team’s coaching staff. Ultimately, Cedric described this as his reason for committing to the University of Guelph. 

“It was really cool to be in a college setting like this one,” Cedric said. “I was living in the dorm rooms, having to follow the college football schedule, waking up at 6 a.m., watching [game] film, practicing, then watching more film and finally practicing some more. It was definitely beneficial for me to have a taste of what it would be like before I committed.”

Cedric did consider colleges within the United States, but his offer from the University of Guelph remained his top option. 

“As a team, we didn’t have as successful of a season as we would have liked, so there were fewer college scouts looking at LAHS as a whole,” Cedric said. “While I did get some interest from American colleges, there weren’t any schools that I was too interested in, so I decided that going back home would be the best fit.”

Now, as he is heading back home to the land of maple syrup and poutine, Cedric is excited to start a new chapter in his life. 

“Overall, I am looking forward to the season,” Cedric said. “The school is good, football is very good. I just hope that COVID-19 doesn’t impact our season too much and that we actually get to play.”