A two-way playmaker: Tyreon Smith is enjoying a breakout season for the Tigers

Published 9:00 am Saturday, September 16, 2023

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Tyreon Smith is enjoying a breakout season on both sides of the ball. The junior rarely gets off the field as he makes plays on offense and defense for the Troup Tigers.

“Originally in middle school I played tight end and defensive line,” Smith said. “I really just switched to skill positions, safety and outside linebacker in high school.” 

Smith, a dynamic deep threat at wide receiver, is also an adept member of the secondary on defense, flying around to make plays. He has made some of the biggest plays of the season, including a 34-yard touchdown catch against Callaway that put the team up by 21-13.

“I love it because all eyes in the stadium are on you,” Smith said. “When the ball is in the air everybody is looking at you, it feels good.”

He is not concerned with personal stats, but Smith currently third on the team in receptions (4), receiving yards (103) while being tied for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns through the opening three games. 

Smith has built a strong connection with senior quarterback Taeo Todd this season. The two have connected on touchdown passes of 19 yards and 34 yards in the last two games.

“I just try to get open as fast as I can because I know Taeo is going to hit me if I’m open,” Smith said. “When I see the ball in the air, I’m just thinking I have to go up and get it.”

Smith gets it done on the defensive side of the ball. He is fourth on the defense in total tackles with 10 while leading the team in tackles for loss with two.

The junior will also come down in the box and play some linebacker too.

“I used to think I was too small to play outside linebacker, but I hit the weight room to make sure I could hold up,” Smith said.

Smith had to sit behind some strong players in the wide receiver room and secondary last season. But when Noah Dixon went down late in the season, Smith had to step up in the secondary. 

“I had to wait and remain focused and locked in,” Smith said. “It was my first time getting experienced, but I feel more ready for it now. 

“I feel like if I went through it again I would be even better than I was last year.”

Getting a run of games and playing in big atmospheres gave Smith a taste of the action, and he immediately wanted more.

He put in the work during the offseason to make a big impact on this year’s team.

“I can’t go out there and drop passes and be lollygagging,” Smith said. “I have to be an example for the younger guys like the ones I had when I was younger.”

If you see a no. 9 taking the top off the defense or laying a big hit over the middle for Troup, it is just Smith making another play under the Friday night lights.

“Back in middle school I used to watch them thinking about how that is where I want to be and now I’m out here,” Smith said. “It comes at you fast.”