St. Frances defensive end Rahshaun Smith has been cleared by Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association officials to play football this fall after transferring during the last school year from Calvert Hall.
Smith, rated the No. 15 prospect in the Class of 2016 last week by the recruiting website rivals.com, has moved his primary residence by more than 30 miles which allows him to play without sitting out for a year, said Lee Dove, executive director of the MIAA.
League rules require a varsity athlete who played the same sport at another MIAA school to sit out a year with two exceptions – that he moves more than 30 miles or his former school discontinues the sport.
“He has been given approval,” Dove said Monday. “They apparently changed their residence which is more than 30 miles which adheres to the parameters of our policy.
“We have those parameters in our rules that if a school drops a sport, you can transfer (without sitting out) or if you have a primary residence change which has to be documented and be more than 30 miles and we have gotten documentation.”
While Smith will begin practice with his new Panthers teammates Tuesday, the first day of football practice for MIAA programs, two other players who also transferred to St. Frances likely will not be able to play. Dove said he would have a decision on their requests by Tuesday.
“I don’t think they’re going to be able to play. Period,” Dove said. “They’re not moving their residence.”
If their requests are denied, they won't be able to practice with the team, Dove said.
Five football players transferred from Calvert Hall to St. Frances for this season as the Panthers embark on their second year as an A Conference team.
Last fall, the Panthers (5-7) finished fourth in the tough seven-team A Conference behind No. 1 McDonogh, No. 2 Gilman and No. 4 Archbishop Spalding going 3-3. They opened the season with a 2-3 record against an ambitious non-conference schedule that included losses to Good Counsel and DeMatha. Both teams are back on the Panthers' schedule this fall.
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound, five-star prospect, was one of only 108 players to attend the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge at M&T Bank Stadium in June. Only 26 underclassmen were invited. Many top college programs are recruting Smith, who won't narrow his list until after this season, said Panthers coach Messay Hailemariam.