MCHS Raider, Tyler Smith, invited to play in Blue-Grey American Bowl

After an impressive showing at an area NFL Combine, bowl officials recently invited Moore County running back Tyler Smith to play in the Blue-Grey American Bowl on May 17. (Photos Courtesy of Jeff Reed Photography)

{Editor’s Note: The Blue-Grey Bowl will be broadcast on TV. We will publish those details as soon as we have them.}

SPORTS NEWS — The pool of potential players went from 6,750 to just a couple dozen and a Moore County High School Raider, Tyler Smith, will be one of them. Last week, he and his family learned that the Moore County star running back would be on the field in May for the 2021 Blue-Grey American Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Smith competed with players from around the state including those from much larger schools.

Founded in 1989, the bowl’s purpose is to help prep prospects from all over the country receive national exposure. Players were whittled down from over 20 regional and national combines. Smith will play in the Southwest Super at Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium on May 17 at 6 p.m.

Smith says 13 years as a Raider taught him the game.

Tyler played 13 years in Moore County and came up through youth football, middle school, and then the Raider varsity team. In his senior year, the star running back ran for 922 yards and caught another 148 yards through the air. His love of the defensive side of the ball also shows through in the Raiders year end stats. Smith managed 119 tackles for Moore County and led the team in sacks.

Tyler says his career at Moore County has allowed him to become a student of the game. On the field, he focuses on the habits of the opposing players and reading both offenses and defenses.

“I’ve gotten to the point where I can kind of predict where the ball runner is going to be on defense or where the lanes are going to open up on offense.”

It is a sentiment that his Raider Head Coach Kris White thoroughly agrees with.

“It comes as no surprise that Tyler was chosen for the Blue-Grey American Bowl,” Coach White says. “I think everyone knew how good he was on offense but to me, he shined on defense. His ability to read plays quickly and shoot through the gaps was amazing. If any player deserves this opportunity, it would definitely be Tyler.”

Evaluated by NFL veterans at combine

His path to the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas went through the Hendersonville where Tyler attended one of the nationwide NFL Combines, the Tennessee Super, at Pope John Paul High School. There, NFL veterans and industry experts evaluated his football prowess. The five foot eight, 170 pound running back ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds. For comparison, former Alabama, and current Eagles QB Jalen Hurts runs a 4.59. He also managed a 8’11” broad jump and 4.4 20-yard shuttle.

Tyler said he knew that he came in second in his group at the Combine but was genuinely surprised when he got the letter inviting him to play in the bowl.

“I went to the Combine during the summer. They mentioned playing in the bowl game, but I hadn’t heard anything else from them, so I was shocked when I got the letter,” he says.

Tyler and his family will travel to Texas around mid-May. He will practice with the team for two days, May 15-16, and then play on May 17. Tyler says that the bowl recruited multiple players at each position but was told every player would get playing time.

Tyler recently signed to play with Rhodes College in Memphis at the running back position but says he hope he gets the chance to play a little defense too. He is the son of Tracy Smith and Amy Muse Smith of the Marble Hill Community near the Moore County, Franklin County line. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only daily newspaper in Lynchburg. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}