Rockwall High will head into the 2019 season with one of the best wide receivers in the state and the nation in tow.
Senior Jaxon Smith-Njigba enters his fourth and final season at Rockwall with an outstanding 186 catches for 3,232 yards and 29 touchdowns in his career and a hard commitment to Ohio State University. He also has a chance to become one of the state’s all-time leaders in career receptions and career receiving yards though Yellowjackets coach Rodney Webb said that the 6-foot-1, 188-pound future Buckeye is more focused on the season.
“I just want him to be a great leader,” Webb told Texas Scorecard. “I want him to continue to be a productive part of the offense. He’s a guy who’s ‘team first’ for sure.”
The coach described Smith-Njigba as a “tremendous, all-around receiver.”
Since his first taste of action in 2016, the wideout has experienced an astronomical rise in his production. Smith-Njigba went from 105 yards on eight hauls as a 9th grader to 83 catches for 1,328 yards and nine touchdowns in his sophomore year, followed by his most recent season in which he caught a staggering 97 receptions for 1,828 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“The big leap in production was between his freshman and sophomore seasons,” Webb said.
As of this writing, Smith-Njigba, who also plays on special teams and sparingly on defense, awaits a new starting quarterback with whom to connect after being a target for Matthew Jones and Jacob Clark. Regardless of who goes under center, they know Smith-Njigba will not let them down.
“There really is no weakness to his game,” said Webb, who characterized his offense as a “two-back, ground and pound running game that takes play action shots” like the Art Briles-coached teams. “The two things that really stick out are route running ability and [his] hands … his route running and hands are what set him apart.”
Smith-Njigba earned AP Class 6A first-team All-State and District 11-6A MVP honors. Likened to Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. by Webb, he was highly recruited until he decided on continuing his gridiron career in Columbus.
“I’m nothing but happy for him,” Webb said. “He’s had a lot of opportunities in terms of scholarship offers. It just seemed like the best fit for him. He did his homework … Ohio State just seemed like the right fit. As a coach, all you do is be happy for a kid that’s definitely found a right fit for himself.”
In 2018 Rockwall finished 8-3 and lost to Allen High in the playoffs. The Yellowjackets kick off the 2019 campaign with a home game against reigning Class 5A Division I champion Dallas Highland Park High on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.