May 22, 2008

Quiet Smith 'tranforms' on football field

At 6-foot-6 and over 260 pounds, it’d be hard for most people to fly under the radar.

On the football field, Tyron Smith has gotten just about everyone’s attention.

The five-star offensive tackle from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde and USC signee has dominated opposing linemen all the way to a No. 15-ranking in the Rivals 100.

It’d be far too easy to expect Smith to match his on-field dominance with off-field bravado, but that’s just not the case.

“At home, he’s quiet, calm and a cool type of guy,” Smith’s mother, Frankie Pickney said.

On the field, there’s nothing bashful about Smith’s dominating presence. It’s a change that even surprised his mom.

“It’s totally different,” she said. “He transforms into another being.

“It’s amazing to watch.”

Smith said he enjoys using the football field as a place to release everything that he’d normally keep under wraps.

“When I play football, I’m not worried about anything. I’m just free,” he said. “I just let go and do it.”

Whatever he’s done, it’s worked out so far. Along with fell Trojan signees Daniel Campbell and Matt Kalil, Smith played offensive line in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

“It felt pretty good,” Smith said. ”There was a natural feeling there. It’s going to be good playing with those guys.”

Smith said cohesion is a critical part of an offensive line’s success, and even though he felt a connection in San Antonio, the relationships need nurturing.

“I’ve been keeping in touch with those guys, especially Matt (Kalil),” he said.

Scheduled to arrive on campus on June 23, Smith said he thinks the biggest adjustment will be faster players and smaller windows for reactions.

“Everything is faster,” Smith said. “It’s all about power and speed. I’m just going to watch the starters, and do what I can to catch up to those guys.”

Smith said he’s spent the last few months hitting the books and the weights, keeping his grades up while pushing his bench press max close to 400 pounds.

But with school winding down and his future coming into sight, the quiet Smith chuckled and said it hasn’t been too easy to keep focus.

“Oh yeah. I have a little bit of senioritis,” Smith said. “I want to finish up strong though, so I’m working hard.

“I’m enjoying things right now, but I’m also preparing for what’s coming up.”

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