Shannon Smith. A lot of Ottawa Redblacks fans do not know that name and a few do know of him but by the end of the 2020 CFL season he hopes to be a household name for Redblacks fans. With the moves made this off-season surrounding the receiver position, there is a good chance Smith gets onto the active roster to make plays on game day, and before seeing him perform on the field R-Nation needs to know more about Shannon and his upbringing to Ottawa.
Coming out of a sports medicine class at the University of West Georgia and on his way back home, Shannon Smith was given reason to reflect on what his next step will be in football.
He got a call from Jeremy Snyder, the assistant general manager of the Ottawa Redblacks. Snyder had met Smith ahead of time at an Ottawa Redblacks open try-out in Atlanta, but this time Snyder brought business to the table offering him a contract. At the open try-out, Smith got more understanding of the league but most importantly a 4.44 40-yard-dash gave Snyder something to bring back to Ottawa and give to Marcel Desjardins.
Although he wasn’t signed right after the try-out, he wasn’t forgotten by the Redblacks. Making his way back home from that class, he was looking at the next step of his football career. Being signed by the Ottawa Redblacks, Smith took his sports medicine books and traded them for a flight ticket to Ottawa.
Shannon was signed by the Redblacks in September of last year, midway through the 2019 season. Smith mentions, “The day I was signed, I cried. I shared the news with my family and we reflected on what it took to get here, it was an awesome thing to celebrate.” Smith goes to say, “Even-though it wasn’t the NFL, I knew that it was still professional football and growing up I always had the vision that if the NFL didn’t work out the CFL would always be there.”
His first year with Ottawa was a great learning experience for whats next in his time in the CFL and he says, “It’s a blessing to be in the position I’m in. Everyday, I wake up and charish the moment and I’m thankful for the Ottawa Redblacks on taking a chance on me, and with the experience I have from last year I could put something special together in future.” Spending the majority of the 2019 season on the team’s practice roster, Smith also points out that he had a bit of trouble adapting to the Canadian game but with help from his veteran teammates he’s ready to be a starter on the team.
Being a starter is something very possible for Smith as he goes into his second season in Ottawa as the team has lost two starting receivers in both Dominique Rhymes and Caleb Holley. Losing those two receivers could be tough, although with Smith standing at 6’4, similar to Rhymes he could play a big role with the size he has at the receiver spot. Not only could he play that role, he does in fact believe he is bound to be on the teams starting lineup. Smith goes to point out, “I can play in this league and I really do belong in the league as a playmaker.”
If Smith is put into the depth chart, he without a doubt could make an impact on the teams offense and from his time in university, it’s proven that he can move the ball. In his University days, for the majority he spent at West Georgia University which was close to his home in Atlanta, but before transferring there in 2016 he spent one year at Middle-Tennessee as well as one year at Northeastern Oklahoma. Moving the ball in every opportunity he was given he is mostly known for his 559 yard season at NE Oklahoma in which he also scored 4 touchdowns on 39 passes. Seen in his college days, if Smith is given a chance with the ball he can put his team in a good spot on the field and even put points up on the board.
All in all at the end of the day, the Redblacks and every other professional team are always looking for a big receiver to put points up on the board, so if given the shot in year two in Ottawa, Smith has a chance to make a lot of his opportunity. He mentions, “I didn’t come this far for nothing, so I’m going to show what I’m made of.”