The Saugus football team had a successful 2018 campaign, finishing with an 8-4 record and tied for second place in the Foothill League. The Centurions also won a playoff game against the team that knocked them out in 2017.
The Cents’ success was based upon a number of factors, but perhaps none more important than their stout and unforgiving defense, led by 6-foot-5 defensive end Carson Smith.
Now, Smith will be playing football at the next level, as he announced on Wednesday that he committed to Idaho State University, an NCAA FCS Division 1 school in the Big Sky Conference.
“I got the offer before the beginning of my senior season, around the end of May,” Smith said, “I made the decision just a couple of weeks ago before playoffs started, but kept it low profile for a few weeks.”
While Smith kept his decision low profile, his play on the field this past season was anything but. He led his team in sacks and was second in the Foothill League with nine. He had three pass deflections, caused three fumbles and had one fumble recovery. He logged 42 tackles and a team-high 12 tackles for loss.
He also made an impact on offense as a tight end, catching four balls for 34 yards and two touchdowns. He added a catch to convert a two-point play.
Smith said he was recruited as a defensive end and has already spoken to his new head coach Rob Phenicie and assistant coach Jay Staggs on what his role is going to be with the Bengals.
“My initial conversations with coach Staggs and coach Phenicie have been great,” he said. “They have made me feel like I am wanted at Idaho and make it feel like home.”
That homey feeling that Carson felt when he visited ISU is a big part of the reason he decided to commit there.
The city of Pocatello, where ISU is located, has a population of less than 60,000. According to Smith, the town is extremely invested in its local university’s sports teams.
“When I visited the school over the summer the town and school felt like a big family that seemed to gravitate toward the sports of the school,” Smith said. “I also fell in love with the surrounding area as it is a fresh environment to start my next chapter in life.”
While Smith is excited for that next chapter to begin, he couldn’t help but reflect on this past season and what his Saugus teammates and coaches mean to him.
“Coach (Jason) Bornn was very proud of me and he’s the reason that I got the offer,” he said. “When I told the team they were very ecstatic and supportive of me. They were congratulating me. I really should have been thanking them, as my team constantly pushing me allowed me to achieve my dream.”