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Hokies Score Twelfth Commitment From Offensive Lineman

J. Meric

The Hokies added their twelfth commitment to their 2014 recruiting class Tuesday evening in offensive lineman Tyrell Smith of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey:

We reported the news several minutes later, but due to an error in the Rivals database, were unable to come up with the correct Tyrell Smith, causing us to erroneously report Smith being out of Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey. Smith's commitment is big for the Hokies as he becomes the second and much needed offensive line commitment of this class.

Smith is a 6'4"-6'5" 250-260 lb. offensive tackle, but according to all the early information, it looks like the Hokies' staff wants to move him inside to guard. Smith is rated as a 3-star prospect by 247Sports and a 2-star by Rivals. He is ranked the No. 109 offensive tackle in the nation by 247. Scout has a profile for him, but has not ranked or rated him. ESPN does not have a recruiting profile for him. He had offers from Massachusetts, FAU and the Hokies.

While he isn't ranked incredibly highly, the Tech staff, and particularly Jeff Grimes loves what he brings to the table. He picked up a committable offer after a good showing at the Hokies' June 2nd camp, where he apparently held his own against some more highly-touted competition.

So without further ado, let's break down his tape, shall we?

Well, unfortunately as is the case with a lot of Tech camp offers, there is not much for us to really see from a highlight tape perspective that gets us excited. While he does have a big frame, if he is going to move to guard, he's at least two years (his senior year and a probable redshirt year at Tech) from being ready from a body standpoint to compete on an even playing field at the D-I level.

Strictly based based on his tape, here are the things I noticed:

  • Smith is a very good athlete. He runs the field well and looks like he will maintain a lot of that even if/when he puts more weight on his frame
  • He can get a little too high in his blocks, which leads to being stood up in the hole.
  • He's out in space as a lead blocker a lot, as you can see on the tape with both screens and as a pulling lineman.
  • Unfortunately, the thing that jumps out the most to me is that while he gets second level, it's often at the expense of the "first level." That could mean either he doesn't set a good enough first block, moves on too soon from the first block or doesn't set a first block at all. He tends to dance around looking for a block or a guy to hit instead of just hitting the first guy he sees off the line. Part of that might be his opponent/s just refusing to engage him, but I find that unlikely. He doesn't have the nastiness of guys like Jake Grove who just hit you and hit you and hit you regardless of the whistle.
  • He's really raw, but does have some tools for the position.

So while I don't mind seeing the Hokies going after and landing a less touted prospect given their track record there, I am a bit concerned about Smith's temperament relative to an offensive lineman. As most coaches would tell you, they would much rather calm a kid down because he's playing with TOO MUCH FIRE than having to pump a kid up who doesn't play with enough. I'm not condemning him, or saying that Smith is not or could not become that player. I'm just saying based on his tape, he is not that player right now. As always, when I say anything that could be considered as a slight to a Tech kid, I offer up the hope that they prove me wrong. My ego will be okay as long as the Hokies keep winning.

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