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  • George Davis

Player Profile- Chris Smith

Chess players have a unique ability of taking in a lot of information and remembering relevant bits. So, memory and mental stamina are the key attributes. - Viswanathan Anand

Chris Smith was named to the 2016 All-Division 4 Team by the Detroit Free Press

A Knight of the Castle

He’s usually thinking 3 moves ahead.

The 6’2” 250 lbs defensive lineman likes to play chess. “I like the strategy and the need to concentrate on the moves ahead.”

Chris Smith is the strong, silent type. Observant, taciturn, processing the world about him. His calm demeanor is a pleasant veneer over an active mind.

Maybe that’s what makes him a unique football player. Along with a 600 lbs dead lift.

“Chris is talented and has an impressive work ethic,” says Cranes Head Coach D’Angelo. “He figures out the things he wants to get better at and then he pursues it relentlessly. He is on a crusade to constantly improve.”

He spends a lot of time watching film to prepare his mind, remembering small details. Often found in the weight room, he quietly inspires his teammates to go farther in gaining strength.

“He’s a leader by example and is well-respected by his peers,” says D’Angelo. “He sets high benchmarks for our team.”

Chris Smith was named to the 2016 All-Catholic Team by the CHSL.

A Coat of Arms

Chris was named to the 2016 All-Division Team in Division 4 by the Detroit Free Press for his outstanding work as a lineman.

Chris was the overall defensive leader in 2016. He amassed 48.5 solo tackles, 35 assists, 4 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 6 fumble recoveries, 9 hurries, 2 batted down passes, and 1 touchdown.

He provided a stellar effort for the Cranes; he was named the 2016 Defensive MVP for Cranbrook Football.

“He knows his assignments,” said Coach D’Angelo. “The combination of his strength, quickness, and technique make him an outstanding player.”

In addition to those accolades, Chris received the following honors: 2016 All-Catholic League by the CHSL; All-Oakland County, Honorable Mention by the Oakland Press; Class of 2018 Watch List by The D Zone; All-State Defensive Team,; Class of 2018, Top Ten Lineman,

Chris Smith in the Cranes 30-0 Catholic League Championship Victory over WOLL

Royal Birds

Chris began his football career playing for the Southfield Ravens in 7th grade. He credits his early success to them.

“They had really good coaches and helped me to understand the game. They took a lot of time developing us as players,” said Chris. “They also encouraged us to be positive young men and help others.”

The Ravens team Chris played for earned a spot in the National AYF Championships in Orlando, Florida in 2013. They finished 3rd in the nation.

Moving from the Ravens to the Cranes, Chris would find new heights to soar.

His favorite CK football moment was his first varsity game. A 2014 contest against Madison Heights Lamphere.

Chris Smith gets a sack against Madison Heights Lamphere

“It was exciting, my first high school varsity game and my first start at defensive end. I was nervous,” said Chris. “It was a close game, but we pulled it out a victory.”

Cranbrook won that game 34-27, en route to its first state playoff appearance in 10 years.

Chris’ personal motto is to “dream big and work hard.”

He gets it from his favorite NFL player-J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Watt is a “mobile, fast player” who is “a hard worker.” Chris likes that he is “adaptable“and he has “great technique.”

Chris likes the Seattle Seahawks as an NFL team. “I love their defensive schemes,” said Chris.

“They are tough and smart and operate as a unit. They bring a noble effort every game.”

Chris Smith pressures the QB in the Cranes 14-13 victory over Riverview Gabriel Richard

Holding Court

When he’s not on the football field, Chris plays power forward for the Cranes Varsity basketball. He contributes as one of the leading rebounders and assist leaders. He also likes to just play with his friends. “That’s always great,” says Chris.

He binge watches TV shows like “The Blacklist” or “The House of Cards”. He just likes to “take it all in.”

He has a soft spot for dogs. He has a dog named Harley, a Bichon Poodle. Chris often watches Brooklyn, Spencer, and Quincy, who belong to his godmother and aunt. “When they are all over it’s a lot of fun- court is in session.”

His favorite book is the Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, a 2010 fantasy adventure novel based on Egyptian mythology. It is the first novel in The Kane Chronicles series. “I enjoyed the history and the adventure set in Egypt,” said Chris.

Chris says he’s motivated by his mom and dad, who “expect the best of him”, which drives him to “always work hard.”

He likes science and mathematics, so he’s considering a career in Chemical Engineering.

His advice to young players: “Take advantage of the time and put in the work; it will all pay off in the future.”


Chris looks to help his team defend their Catholic League title and win a state championship. "It would a great thing to win it all, " says Chris.

He wants to encourage his team mates to believe in themselves and the coaches.

"We've grown a lot, but we can always get better. I just want to work hard at the next thing the coaches give us," says Chris. "Every day we can get a little better."

Chris is preparing for his senior season, watching more film and conditioning daily.

It's a winning strategy, before the game is even played.

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