DANBURY, Conn. (BVM) — Athleticism is engraved into the family of Nick Smith, a varsity football player for Danbury High School (DHS). The junior wide receiver and linebacker is aspiring to play at the highest level after close influence from his uncle, George Radachowsky, an NFL veteran who played for the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
“My whole life I’ve heard stories about his work ethic and early morning workouts, so I try to live up to his feats,” Smith said. “He’s told me about the hard work and determination that it takes to play at the collegiate level.”
Smith’s own hard work led him to be noticed by the DHS varsity coach Augustine Tieri following week five of his freshman season. After eventually giving him the nod to practice with the varsity team, Smith worked his way up the ranks and was named as captain during the offseason of his sophomore year.
While hoping to receive a full scholarship to play football at the Division I level, Smith said that he wants to be accepted into a “prestigious college” since education is also a top priority for him. As a three-sport athlete, he manages to balance football, basketball and baseball while maintaining a 4.4 GPA on a weighted scale.
“I want to play football at the collegiate level because I feel like that is my best shot at getting into a good college,” Smith said. “Although I feel I am skilled in both baseball and basketball, I think that I can take football the farthest.”
But this season, Smith was unable to show off his skills on the field to prove himself as a top recruit, since DHS was forced to cancel their season because of the pandemic. He said he not only missed playing the game in front of crowds but he also always looked forward to the game critique he would receive from Radachowsky.
“He was there, ever since my first game,” Smith said. “Always as far away as possible but close enough to keep a close eye on the game for a postgame summary.”
Without being able to play, Smith said he is continuing to make goals for himself to stay motivated. He said next season he wants to reach the state playoffs, make a championship run and wants to be named first team All-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) and All-State.
He also said that his father, Lee Smith, a National Baseball Hall of Famer who pitched for a number of MLB teams including the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees, also helps him to stay competitive.
“From being around my dad and the other successful individuals that I met through him, my expectations and standards of success have been raised,” Nick said. “I think that is part of the reason why I expect a lot out of myself in all aspects of life.”
As a sophomore, Nick received All-FCIAC West honors. He said that one of his best games was that year against Norwalk High School when he had four receptions for 97 yards in the first half.
But for this COVID-19 impacted season, he said that he is grateful to the parents and administrators who helped make three games happen in the Danbury Sports Dome; the team was given the opportunity to play after following guidelines all season long.
“The season started off a bit rocky due in part to the unprecedented circumstances, so we started off the season with an 0-2 record,” Nick said. “It was an important period of self-reflection and served as a chance to make any necessary changes in order to swing the direction of the season. But in the last game, we were able to pull everything together and take a victory over Fairfield Ludlowe.”
Nick said he is ready to play a regular season next year because he is hopeful of one day being inducted into the DHS Hall of Fame like his uncle.