Smith Talks Rutgers, NIKE Camp

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Tyrell Smith, a 6-foot-4, 295 Jersey Shore lineman, had never been to a combine before. After participating at the NIKE camp at Rutgers Stadium last Sunday, caught up with the Lacey Township High School lineman to discuss which side of the ball he prefers playing on and what that means for Rutgers ...

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Somewhere in the middle of lineman drills, Tyrell Smith realized he was doing something right. Coming up from Lacey Township High (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) for his first organized combine event, Smith didn't know what to expect.

"At first, I was just praying that I didn't embarrass myself," Smith said with a big smile on his face after it was through. "I had no idea what it was going to be like, but the coaches were telling me I was doing a good job. Even some of the guys I was going against, were like ‘nice hit' or ‘that was good.'"

Smith, who plays center on his basketball team, displays quick feet on both sides of the ball. He plays on both the offensive and defensive line for his high school team and said most colleges are looking at him as an offensive guard or tackle at the next level.

"A lot of schools are saying that they think I can be a good offensive lineman because I'm pretty quick and have some strength," Smith said. "Part of starting these camps is to try and get better at the technique part of it because I'm still kind of inexperienced with things like where to place my hands."

Plenty of schools have been in touch with Smith, including Rutgers, Connecticut, Temple, North Carolina, Florida, UCF and Wisconsin, he said. His favorite would be the first school to offer him a scholarship, he said.

Until then, Smith said he likes them all.

"I'm just appreciative of any school that is interested in me," Smith said. "My goal is to just keep working hard and trying to get noticed. I'm still kind of new to football so I know I have a lot I can still learn."

Smith said he really likes Rutgers after visiting for Junior Day this year and said he has a good relationship with the coaching staff.

"I talk to a lot of the coaches, mostly Coach [Kyle] Flood," he said. "I'm friends with all of them on like Facebook and stuff. I really like their attitude of being a family. They care more about just being a football player. At Rutgers, they want you to be a complete person."

The only setback with Rutgers, in Smith's mind, is that they prefer him as an offensive lineman.

"If I could choose, I would want to play on the defensive lineman," Smith said. "I love the tackling. But to be honest, if a college wanted me to play offensive line, that would be OK too. I know Rutgers seems to like me as a guard. That's what we talked about."

Smith said he thinks he will camp at Rutgers, but will not officially schedule any camps until after he is done with school.

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