Lacey's Smith Discusses Rutgers, Recruiting

The Jersey Shore continues to produce talent, and one of the players to watch in the 2012 class is Lacey Township High (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) lineman Tyrell Smith. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Smith spoke to about Rutgers, what he learned during a visit there, and whether he likes playing offensive line or defensive line better.

Lacey Township High (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) lineman Tyrell Smith is getting ready for the state basketball tournament, and so football recruiting is in neutral.

But that figures to change when the spring evaluation period begins and schools see the athleticism of the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Smith.

Already, Rutgers, Miami, Connecticut, Central Florida, Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, North Carolina and Wisconsin have shown interest, and Smith took a trip to Rutgers last month for junior day.

"It was nice. The coaches are really cool," Smith said. "It's a nice atmosphere and they seem like they care about academics a lot. That was my first real look at it. I had been up there for a practice, but this was the first time I saw it like that.

"They talk about the team being a family, and that's a big thing."

Smith plays offensive tackle and moves around on the defensive line in the Lions 3-4 scheme. And while schools are looking at him as a guard on the offensive line, Smith likes the other side of the line of scrimmage a little more.

"I love to hit. I love to tackle people," Smith said. "That's it. Some people say I'm better offensively. Some say I'm better defensively. I like playing both ways. But I like defense better. I like the contact, I guess.

"The thing about offense is you have to learn technique. You have to keep your hands in, and it's all about hand placement and footwork and the right steps. Defense, you just go hard."

The physical play also is evident in Smith's play on the basketball court. He plays center for Lacey, which is 15-5, and spends most of his time in the low post.

"I'm a paint guy," Smith said. "I love my drop step. My drop step is vicious."

Smith grew up playing basketball, and for a while he believed that was going to be his future. However, the way he is developing on the football field altered his thinking, and now his offseason concentration will be on football.

"I just like to play sports," Smith said. "I enjoy both. They always tell you to have fun and that's what I do. More than likely, I know it's going to be football (in college), but if it had to be basketball, I would like that, too."

Playing so much basketball while growing up helped Smith develop his footwork.

"One thing they told me before I learned football was they said I had really good footwork," he said. "They said it came from playing basketball."

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