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El Cerrito sophomore cornerback/receiver Warren Smith simply wants to be one thing.
Each time Smith steps onto the field, each time he sets foot in the weight room, each time he suits up – all Smith is focused on is greatness. He won’t fail. He won’t allow himself not to succeed in anything and everything he sets his mind to.
“I just don’t want to fail,” Smith said. “I just want to help my mom, put her in a better situation, help my brothers and sisters, put them in a better situation. I just want to be successful.”
Smith’s family really pushes him, someday hoping to get them out of Richmond and provide them with a better life.
His mother pushes him every day. When Smith was younger, she taught him to always start what you finish. Giving up isn’t an option.
Whether it was basketball, football or baseball, Smith was going to finish it. There was a time when Smith wanted to quit baseball, his mother wouldn’t let him. She put him in it.
So he had to finish it.
“She said, she was like, ‘You wanted me to put you in it. You started it, so you’ve got to finish it.’ My mom taught me just basically I never could quit,” Smith said. “If I start something, I just know I’ve got to finish it. And my brothers and sisters, they just keep me on my grades, keep me going every day, making sure I’m doing the right thing on the right track.”
With this mindset and his determination, Smith made a name for himself right away when he arrived at El Cerrito High School.
On a defensive loaded with talented players in the secondary – including junior Robert Freeman, who has an Arizona State offer and had eight interceptions last season, and senior Kole White – Smith started at cornerback and played in all 11 games while the Gauchos appeared in the North Coast Section Division III quarterfinals.
“My work ethic honestly,” Smith said. “I just want to be the greatest I can be every day. I just go 100% every rep, go 100% in everything I do. I think the coaches I guess saw that when I came here as a freshman and I guess they just wanted me on varsity because they thought I could help the team win.”
El Cerrito’s defense surrendered 21.7 points per game and registered three shutouts in 11 games with Smith in the fray.
Starting as a freshman showed Smith that the potential is limitless.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” Smith said. “It showed me that I really could be something special and make it to the next level because a lot of people my, like a lot of people my, a lot of freshmen don’t get to play varsity as a freshman and start on varsity as a freshman at that.”
This year, Smith and his Gaucho teammates recently received the news that they will be able to get a season in, and Smith is preparing as much as he can to add to his repertoire.
Waking up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, Smith is lifting weights, going to the football field ahead of practice, working on his technique, hips, defensive back drills and receiver drills.
El Cerrito head coach Jacob Rincon said Smith gained 15 pounds over the past two months.
“I’ve definitely gotten stronger,” Smith said. “I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve gotten a little faster. My skills, my DB skills are getting better. Beginning of the offseason, I was good at pressing, but my off technique wasn’t really good. My off technique has gotten better. My routes, my route running got better and my catching ability got much better.”
All of the offseason work has Smith aiming for even greener pastures during his second year on the varsity squad.
“Go undefeated of course,” Smith said. “I want to have at least seven interceptions, depending on how many games we play I want to have like at least an interception every game. At least four to five tackles every game, and hopefully if they give us a lot of games I want to go to state, win state.”
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