Although it's still very early in the process to start trying to rank juniors, there is no doubt one of the top players in the class of 2008 will be Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde offensive lineman Tyron Smith. Smith was the only junior to earn NIKE Camp MVP honors last Spring and the offers are already starting to come in.
Smith, 6-5, 260 pounds was one of the most impressive lineman we saw all Spring. He has a great frame and actually looks lean at 260 pounds because of how well put together he is. Smith has long arms, great feet and would rank among the top 100 players in the country, in our eyes, right now.
"He's an absolute freak," RV coach Pete Duffy said. "He'll be the best football player I've ever coached and I had guys like Mark Bradford (Stanford) and Thomas Herring (USC) when I was at Fremont. Physically, he's off the charts but so was Thomas. The difference is Tyron is a much better football player. He's so tough and physical and plays with a mean streak.
"Originally I thought he was going to be more of a defensive lineman but after this past season, I think he'll be a left tackle all the way. He has the frame to put on another 30 or 40 pounds easily and still keep all of his speed and quickness. Add the fact that he's an incredible kid and as coachable as you can find, I can't imagine there being a better prospect out there."
Smith dominated the SoCal NIKE Camp last year and was rated by every one of our line coaches as the top OL in the camp, a camp that featured three top 100 offensive lineman in Ryan Miller (Colorado), Martin Coleman (USC) and Javario Burkes. Not only did he dominate the position drills but tested well running a 5.10-40, jumped 28 inches in the vertical and did 21 reps on the bench.
On the recruiting front, Smith has a handful of offers and one local leader at this time.
"I have written offers from Arizona, Colorado, Washington and Nebraska," Smith said. "UCLA was at our school last week and they offered me as well but it was just a verbal. Right now, UCLA is my top school, I like them a lot. I went to about three or four games last season including the USC game. That was an incredible experience and the best game I've ever been at.
"It's still early and I don't have any plans to make an early decision or anything. I think I just want to take my time and go through the recruiting process. I don't know if I'll take all my trips but I want to a few. I do want to stay close to home though, that's important and a big reason why UCLA is my favorite. Academics are also important as well as early playing time, I would like the chance to come in and play as a freshman if that's possible."