It is a homecoming for one of the newest Dallas Cowboys after the NFL team selected North Texas native Tyler Smith during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tulsa tackle Smith is a 2019 graduate of North Crowley High School, according to the school’s athletic coordinator Tommy Brakel. He recalled Smith being a role model for other student-athletes.
“He was Top 20 in his class, A-B student. Really took his academics seriously. We’re really proud of that,” Brakel said Friday. “Everybody wants to be an NFL player, NBA player, whatever. You got to take care of those academics first.”
There was excitement over the news Friday, Brakel said. Speaking with Smith’s former coaches, he said they were not surprised over where he has made it in his football career.
“While he was here and since he was here, he’s never quit growing as an athlete. I mean, he’s never quit growing as a player. He’s had to work for everything he’s gotten. It hasn’t come easy for him,” he said. “His senior year, I think we averaged 36 points a game offensively which is one of the tops in the area. We averaged over 500 yards offensively, which is great.”
Courtney Allen, now a head coach in Mesquite, coached at North Crowley High School between 2018 and 2021. Allen said from his perspective, Smith was “underrecruited” as a young student-athlete.
“A lot of people weren’t sure about him. Me, as his coach, knowing how hard and dedicated he’s been in our program … you’re going and saying anything to get people to believe what you’re about the young man to give him a chance,” Allen said. “Tulsa gave him that chance. It’s funny. Some of the programs that didn’t even give him a sniff or weren’t sure, I kind of laugh because they’re not very successful.”
The latest news from around North Texas.
He hoped Smith’s story will serve as an inspiration to others.
“Really, just bet on yourself. Go out all. Don’t 'half do' anything, whether it’s your classroom work. Whether it’s things in your community. Whatever it is, go all in,” he said.
Smith, who skipped his final two seasons of eligibility at Tulsa, was the Dallas Cowboy’s 24th overall pick in the first round Thursday night. The team has eight more picks to make in the draft on Friday and Saturday.