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September 23, 2005CLEVELAND - There's nothing small about Raymond Small's game.
The 5-foot-10, 173-pound four-star athlete/cornerback from Cleveland Glenville proved in practice again on Thursday that he's one of the nation's most explosive players. Every time he touched the ball, he simply exploded up field with an extra burst that only the great ones have.
He would catch the ball in the flat and turn on his jets, leaving would be tacklers in his dust. Then when tacklers would get near him, he would juke, twist and contort his body and explode for additional yards.
Every time he caught the ball, his teammates standing on the sideline would stop talking, pause and just simply watch in awe.
Then when he would come back to the sideline, instead of bragging, or pointing attention to himself, Small would simply flash a million-dollar smile.
"He's always smiling," one of his teammates said. "He knows he's great, but he doesn't talk smack. He just goes back to the huddle with that big smile of his."
Small should get a patent on that smile because with his talent he uses it quite a bit on both sides of the ball. When he's not making people miss on offense, he plays a big role in Glenville's defense.
Small said he knows he'll leave one college coach smiling on signing day when they officially land him. He's already taken one official visit to USC and it looks like North Carolina, LSU, Florida and Ohio State will be the others that will get visits.
So what about that trip to USC?
"It was really nice. They took us to a Greek restaurant. I really didn't like the food, but I loved the belly dancers. USC football is what it's all about out there, and all of the people in that town love the players. Coach (Pete) Carroll is a really great coach, too. I love talking to him."
There is also the thought that Small might join former teammate Ted Ginn Jr. at Ohio State and that he's already made up his mind on the Buckeyes. When asked about that, he flashes that smile again.
"I guess those people know something I don't," he said.
"It's tough. I like a lot of schools, and Ohio State is really good. I talk to coach (Jim) Tressel all the time and he's a good coach, but I'd like to take my visits and see what happens."
Small is a member of the Rivals250 and is the fifth-ranked player in the state of Ohio.
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