Cahleel Smith earned just about every honor a prep player can accumulate his senior year at Fort Osage High School.
However, he admitted that he would trade them all for a win at 7 p.m. next Thursday, when he leads the Missouri team against Kansas in the BeYOUnion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game at College Boulevard Activities Center in Olathe, Kan.
The 5-foot-9 cornerback finished his senior year with 64 tackles, two tackles for loss, six interceptions, four pass breakups, one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
He was named to the Missouri Football Coaches Association Class 5 All-State second team and was also earned all-district and All-Suburban Middle Six Conference honors.
He played a big role in the Indians advancing to the Class 5 state championship game in 2018.
“And I’d trade off each one of those things for a win in that state championship game or a win next week against the Kansas all-stars,” Smith said before a recent practice session at Van Horn High School. “I’m all about winning, and I’m really enjoying the practices here. It’s fun to play with the most talented players from the state, and we’re really coming together as a team. I like what we’re doing, and I really enjoy our coaching staff.”
He owns a pretty impressive resume for a player who was ready to walk away from the game following his sophomore year.
“I just didn’t like football back then,” he admitted. “I had a couple of head injuries, and took some hard hits when I was playing little league football, but the coaches at Fort Osage asked me to come out again my junior year, and I did. And it was the best decision I ever made.”
Smith got a bit of a history lesson from Missouri head coach William Harris, who is also the head coach of the Van Horn Falcons, early in the week.
“I’m working with the defensive guys, and I really like what Cahleel brings to our team,” Harris said. “And he and I had an interesting conversation the other day. I played defensive end at Baker and his head coach (at Fort Osage), Brock Bult, played linebacker.
“Brock was a great teammate and I knew that one day he would go into coaching and he’s done an amazing job out at Fort Osage with Cahleel and the rest of his guys.”
When asked about Harris and Bult being collegiate teammates, Smith just smiled.
“Yeah, that was pretty cool, I had no idea,” Smith said. “That’s what’s so much fun about these all-star games. You get to meet the guys you’ve been lining up against the past three years and you find out your coach was his teammate in college. That’s fun to know.”
While many of the players on the Missouri team are hoping to open some eyes of collegiate coaches who attend the summer classic, Smith is ready to pack his bags and head north.
“Going to Northwest Missouri State University, going to be a Bearcat, and I can’t wait,” Smith said. “Playing at Fort Osage, you get used to winning and being around winners.
“And I’m going to get to experience the same feeling at Northwest. I want to do well to prove to everyone on the coaching staff at Northwest that they made the right choice in selecting me.”