ASU Quarterback Jack Smith Resurfaces at Central Washington

Dan Raley

Quarterback Jack Smith has transferred from Arizona State to Central Washington University, apparently hoping to become the next Jon Kitna, Mike Reilly or Zak Hill. 

This is a player movement ripe with football crossover connections that even lead back to the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Smith is the son of Sun Devils baseball coach Tracy Smith. He's a 6-foot-1, 164-pounder who has three seasons of college football eligibility remaining -- but he hasn't played since 2016. He suffered a back injury during an offseason workout that prevented him from playing the past three seasons.

While Smith threw for 6,396 yards at a Phoenix high school, he's attempted one collegiate pass, completing a 40-yarder against WSU in a 37-32 loss in 2016. He was forced to play after the Sun Devils lost their top two quarterbacks to injury that night in Tempe.

Smith joined Central at the suggestion of Hill, the Sun Devils' offensive coordinator who played quarterback for the Ellensburg, Washington, school in 1999-2003 and threw for 8,882 yards in his career. 

Hill ranks as one of the greatest Wildcats quarterbacks in school history. He lines up alongside Kitna, who played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, and Reilly, who's now with the BC Lions after leading the Edmonton Eskimos to the 2015 Grey Cup championship and being named MVP.

Central Washington, a Division II school in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, put football on hold because of the pandemic and won't play this year. The league decided this week to resume games in the fall of 2021.

Smith, who took part in seven ASU spring practices before COVID-19 interrupted things, will compete with a host of players for the starting quarterback job at Central, which finished 7-4 in 2019. 

Canon Racanelli won't be one of them. He won the quarterback job last season and started five games for the Wildcats as a freshman, but he struggled and was replaced. He's transitioning to defensive back.

Racanelli's younger brother, Sawyer, is a Washington freshman wide receiver now in camp with the Huskies after missing his senior year at Hockinson High School with a knee injury. 

The Racanellis hail from Brush Prairie, Washington, which is five miles from Battle Ground, where Hill played his high school football. 

Before coming to Arizona State, Hill coached at Boise State, sharing offensive coordinator duties with Scott Huff, who left for Washington to become the offensive-line coach.

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