McALESTER — McAlester seniors Jarome Smith and Caden Pratt have played side-by-side throughout their four years playing for the Buffaloes. They were the Dynamic Duo of the Buffs’ kickoff-return unit, and they often shared the backfield on offense as well.
Smith and Pratt may not be side-by-side next year, but they’ll still be on the same team.
Smith and Pratt both signed their Letters of Intent to play for Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant on Wednesday at McAlester High School. Fellow senior Cade Harkins signed with Southern Nazarene University in Bethany during the same signing event.
“At the very end, he was kind of talking like he was going to go where Cade went, and I just kept begging him,” Pratt said of Smith. “I was like, ‘Dude, you need to come with me. You need to come with me.’ He ended up going (to SOSU), and it makes me feel a whole lot better that I’m not going to be the only one.”
All three players described the recruiting process as stressful and expressed relief that it had finally ended. For Pratt, the choice came down to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah or SOSU.
“Northeastern, whenever they got that new coach (Rob Robinson), they kind of strayed away from me,” Pratt said. “And Southeastern seemed like they grew closer, so I felt more comfortable with Southeastern.”
Pratt said he’ll spend time next year as both an inside receiver and a punt- and kickoff-returner. He’s played all three positions for the Buffs, as well as running back and quarterback.
“It’ll all be the same plays and stuff,” Pratt said. “It’ll be just kind of like learning a new language.”
Pratt’s career statistics with McAlester include: 2,254 rushing yards and 26 touchdown runs; 1,644 passing yards and 19 TD passes; 691 receiving yards and 7 TD receptions; 727 return yards; seven interceptions and 14 blocked kicks.