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Tykee Smith Explains True Feelings About WVU, Why Versatility Will Serve Him in NFL



Tykee Smith

Tykee Smith didn’t finish his college career as a Mountaineer, but he’s hoping to end it with his name called during the upcoming NFL Draft.

WV Sports Now was able to catch up with the former West Virginia defensive back turned two-time national champion with Georgia at the Senior Bowl. Smith talked about excelling in one-on-one battles against other NFL hopefuls and what he was able to show this past season as a Bulldog.

“Just come out there competing. Being able to show different versatility,” said Smith. He then elaborated on why his versatility will allow him to have success at the next level. “Georgia did a really good job putting me in situations to show different versatility so this week I wanted to show I can play high safety too.”

Smith is coming off his best individual season statistically, recording 70 total tackles, four picks and two pass deflections. The Philadelphia, Pa. native feels he was finally able to put his true ability on display. After transferring from WVU, Smith missed most of the 2021 season with an injury and even played sparingly in 2022. So even though 2023 did not end in a Georgia nation championship like each of his first two years as a Bulldog, this past season proved the most for Smith.

And Smith believes his game translates well to the NFL. To that end, he described himself as being “a physical player and a dog” while also having “a real good football IQ” and being coachable and ready “to come in and give it all I got” on any NFL team.

Besides what he can offer on the field, Smith also feels he grew as a person since leaving West Virginia and is now a more mature as a person. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Smith left Morgantown after the 2020 season still a teenager and now looks to become a professional as a 22-year-old grown man.

Despite still believing transferring was the right decision for his life and career, Smith didn’t ignore where his college career started when he announced his plans to enter the NFL Draft. Smith then explained why he still holds the fact that he was once a West Virginia Mountaineer in high regard and why he felt the need to recognize the WVU program in his post.

“Definitely appreciate them (WVU) giving me the opportunity to come in my freshman year and take off from there and them (WVU) believing in me. I saw West Virginia’s staff out here yesterday so I said ‘what’s up?’ to them and talked to them. I hadn’t talked to them since I hit the portal so it was good to talk to them. So it was a good time seeing them,” said Smith.

As a Mountaineer, Smith earned Freshman All-American status in 2019 and was a second-team All-Big 12 player in 2020.

But no matter where his journey ends, Smith is trying to appreciate the journey, a journey that started at WVU, led him to Georgia and will likely end in the NFL, and take things day by day.

“What I appreciate the most about the Senior Bowl is being able to showcase my talent on this stage and then being able to represent one last time in the right way.”

The clip below shows Smith in action during a practice at the Senior Bowl.

Alan Saunders provided reporting from Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl 

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