Recruiting Update on Lacey OL Tyrell Smith

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It looks like the headliners of the Shore Conference talent from the Class of 2012 (the juniors this fall) will be a pair of linemen, Long Branch’s Ryan Brodie and Lacey’s Tyrell Smith.

Those two look to be 25-plus offer kids, with Rutgers already all over Brodie, a 6-5, 265-pound lineman who started as a sophomore and is good friends and trains with Long Branch senior star Miles Shuler.

Smith is an interesting player in that he is an extremely raw prospect who transferred to Lacey from Lakewood before this past school year. However, he is 6-foot-4 1/2 and 280 pounds with good feet and agility (he is also a basketball player). He recently had a strong performance at camp at Penn State and already had numerous coaches come to check him out in person in school this spring in the annual ridiculous “I can stand here and look at you to get an indication of you in person but can’t talk to you” mating ritual that goes on between recruiters and underclassmen because of NCAA regulations.

Wisconsin and several other Big Ten schools have been through along with several Big East programs, Rutgers included, to get a look at Smith. He will be well-coached at Lacey, which mainly runs a power running attack but has also mixed in the zone read option out of the shotgun since last season. When you are standing on the Lacey sidelines, Smith is hard to miss. He definitely passes the look test. He was the ultimate “Who is that huge kid?” last season and got better as the season progressed.

While I’m not advocating transferring in all cases, I think the Smith brothers coming to Lacey was a good decision given how much Lakewood’s program has struggled in recent years, although the Piners now have the legendary Warren Wolf at the helm. I don’t know how much better the two of them would have gotten if they had stayed and if they would received the academic support. I have seen a lot of talented Lakewood players over the year never heard from again because of grades or lack of support, but hopefully that starts to change with Wolf there.

Smith’s older brother, Deon, is a 6-2, 200-pounder who should also be a playmaker on both sides of the ball for the Lions this fall. He is another raw prospect but has pretty good speed. It will be interesting to see which way he goes. He could be everything from a preferred walk-on at a place like Monmouth or maybe even Rutgers or end up at a good Division I-AA program.

It certainly helps Deon Smith and others that the Division I-AA teams in the CAA, Northeast Conference and elsewhere should have some more scholarships for the Class of 2011. The one thing that hurt a lot of players from the Class of 2010 at the Division I-AA level was Hofstra, Northeastern and Iona dropping their programs. That flooded the market with experienced talent at that level, and many of those players who were dispersed because of those programs calling it quits took the spots that normally would have gone to high school seniors.


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