Roosevelt Loaded

The Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) football program for years has been known not only as a program that is Terp-friendly, having sent standouts like Jermaine Lewis, Charles Hill, Josh Allen, Tre Covington and Jared Gaither to College Park, but also as factory for high-major Division I recruits.

That reputation reached its pinnacle two years ago, when Roosevelt boasted the Nos. 1 and 8 prospects in the nation in Derrick Williams (Penn State) and Derrick Harvey (Florida), as well as highly sought recruits Gaither and Covington.

Now it appears the Greenbelt school may have another bumper crop in the making. According to Roosevelt coach Rick Houchens, Roosevelt's current sophomore class is highlighted by a handful of precocious talents who could give the storied Class of 2005 a run for its money.

"I would say they've got all the potential of being those type of quality guys," Houchens said.

The gem of the group is running back Devon Smith, who last year became the first player to start for Houchens as a freshman. While sharing time with older players this season, Smith rushed for 12 touchdowns and more than 700 yards on a whopping 12.7 yards per carry.

Smith is a track star who finished third in the nation last year in the 100-meter dash.

"He's probably faster than Derrick [Williams]," Houchens said. "He's just electrifying. He's probably going to be one of the high-profile potential guys that I've had since I've been here, and that's saying something."

He's also on the smallish side at 160 pounds, but he has a few years to add some weight to his now-5-foot-10 frame.

"He's a serious track guy, , so he's constantly on the go and that makes it hard to get a lot of time to spend [in the weight room'," Houchens said.

It's too early to say what Smith's college preferences are; being just a sophomore his tapes are just now beginning to go out to colleges. But it's safe to say he will be a very highly sought player down the road.

Joining him are fellow sophomores Isaiah Ross, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound defensive tackle/tight end, defensive back/kick returner Stephon Morris and receiver Nigel Rios.

Houchens also has a couple of juniors he expects will soon be receiving numerous D-I offers in safety Okechuckwu Okoroha, who is getting a long look from Tennessee, and pass rusher Dalonte Wallace.

We'll keep our eyes on Roosevelt's young talent and keep you posted on Maryland's interest in these local future standouts.

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