All of Jacket Nation recognizes the hard work and dedication these athletes have put in to compete at the highest level for their school and community. Roughly 1 out of 14 (7%) high school athletes play in college and only 1 out of 54 will play at a Division 1 school (Less than 2%). This Jacket Backer Alumni News & Video page is to recognize our RHS student athletes that have gone on to their college and professional careers. Contact James Schaefer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an athlete you would like to recognize or a story you would like to share. JFND!!!
Rockwall High School's first All-American Collegiate and NFL Player*
Carlton Massey, Rockwall High School’s first All American athlete attended RHS from 1946-1949, playing football his freshman, sophomore and junior years under coach J.A. Wilkerson. Due to an eligibility rule, he was not allowed to play his senior year.
In 1949 he attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, to play football for the Pirates. He made All Conference End and a name for himself, but the program was discontinued in 1950.
He was recruited to play under Coach Ed Price at the University of Texas where he played both offense and defense from 1952 to 1954. In 1952 he made All SWC End, and in 1953 made All SWC End and Consensus All American, a testament not only to his leadership abilities but also the natural athletic talent he had as a defender, rusher, and passer.
In January of 1954 he played in the East West Shrine game in Los Angeles, California, and was elected Tri-captain of the team winning the outstanding Lineman Award. That same month he played in the Hula Bowl Game once again as a Tri-Captain.
In honor of winning All American and other athletic accomplishments in the years after playing for Rockwall High School, Rockwall’s Mayor, B.A. Klutts, designated January 26th as Carlton Massey day.
Shortly after, he was drafted in the eighth round of the 1954 draft by the Cleveland Browns and went on to play on the Chicago Tribune College All Star Team as Co-Captain, voted Most Valuable Player. Before entering the pros, he married his college sweetheart, Niny Avant from Dilley, Texas.
In the fall of 1954 he reported to coach Paul Brown, where he made the starting lineup on the World Championship Cleveland Browns Team as defensive end.
In 1955 The Browns repeated again as World Champions and he played in the All Pro Game. After the 1956 season he was traded to the Green Bay Packers where he played until mid-1958 season when an injury took him out of a game, ultimately leading to his retirement in 1959.
Carlton moved back to San Antonio, Texas, with his family, which now included Michele, born in 1956; Janelle, born in 1958; and a few years later Ken, born in 1960.
In 1967 he and his family moved to Dilley, where he took an active role in the small, South Texas community and enjoyed hunting, training his bird dogs, and hosting hunting guests and friends. In 1975 he was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor. He passed away in Dilley, Texas in 1989 at the age of 59.
* Some content referenced from Massey Feted at Rockwall." Dallas Morning News, 27 Jan. 1954, Final Edition, Part I, p. 10. NewsBank and the work of Fowler, Sheri Stodghill. Legendary Locals of Rockwall: Arcadia Publishing, Google eBook https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467101899
Jaxon Smith - Njigba
Jaxon was drafted for the Seattle Seahawks of playing college football at Ohio State University where he set school records for most catches in a single game with 15 (twice) and most receiving yards in a single season with 1,606 in 2021. Smith-Njigba was selected by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Smith-Njigba grew up in Rockwall, Texas, and attended Rockwall High School. Smith-Njigba led all high school football players in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex with 97 receptions for 1,828 yards and 20 touchdowns in his junior season. As a senior, he caught 104 passes for 2,094 yards and 35 touchdowns and was named the recipient of both the Landry Award and the Texas Gatorade Football Player of the Year award. Smith-Njigba played in the 2019 All-American Bowl and was named a high school All-American by Sports Illustrated and USA Today. Smith-Njigba finished his high school career with 5,346 career receiving yards and 82 touchdowns in 44 games played. A 5-star prospect and the #5 ranked wide receiver in the nation, Smith-Njigba received offers from many top college football programs including Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ole Miss. Ultimately, however, he committed to Ohio State University.
Jaxon helped the 2019-2020 Rockwall Yellowjackets team reach the State Semifinals, a feat that had not happened since 1988.
He was named a starter at the slot receiver position for the Buckeyes going into his sophomore season. On November 6, 2021, Smith-Njigba recorded 15 receptions (single game school record) for 240 yards (the second most receiving yards in a game in school history at the time) and one touchdown in a 26–17 win against Nebraska. Later that season, he set both an Ohio State single game and FBS Bowl record for receiving yards with 347 in Ohio State's win in the 2022 Rose Bowl. In that game, he also recorded 15 receptions (tying his own record set in the aforementioned Nebraska game) and passed David Boston for the single season receiving yards record at Ohio State with 1,606.
Smith-Njigba was limited to just three games in 2022 due to a hamstring injury and his decision to not participate in the College Playoff. In addition, Smith Njigba announced that he would pass on from his senior year of college and enter the 2023 NFL Draft.
Rockwall High School Athletic Alumni