If Durham Smythe had to be placed in one of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly’s recruiting categories, the Texas tight end commit would be classified as “big skill,” but unlike some other “big skill” prospects, Smythe’s position isn’t in much question.
The Belton High School standout was recruited as a tight end and Belton associate head coach and offensive coordinator David Brewer is pretty sure Smythe is going to stay at tight end.
“He’s got the best hands on the team, he runs great routes,” Brewer said of Smythe. “I think Coach Kelly is recruiting him because he’s the type of guy you can do a lot of different formations with and he’s one of those personnel guys you don’t have to take off the field.
“You can put him in tight and he can block. You can leave him in the slot and he can run like a receiver. You can motion him in the backfield and use him the way these guys are using tight ends like you used to do with fullbacks. There are a lot of different things you can do with him.”
Smythe’s frame coupled with his athleticism make him a versatile prospect.
“One of the things that I think stands out about Durham, being 6-6, 230 with the way he still runs real well,” said Brewer. “He ran about a 4.6 in the 40 at 6-6, 220. We could put him down inside to block or run routes. We run some spread formations, where we split him out wide and put him in the slot. He was just as effective doing both.
“He’s a great blocker. He’s got a lot of common football sense, which means when you’re coaching him, you tell him one time and he gets it. If you get in a game and the defense is maybe doing something a little bit different, he sees it and understands it. You can make adjustments and he gets it.”
Smythe’s intelligence and attitude also help him.
“Durham is really smart,” Brewer said. “He’s a student of the game as well as a really good athlete. He’s just a really coachable kid. He absorbs everything you tell him and does it exactly how you tell him. He’s a yes-sir, no-sir kid. He’s got a great attitude.
“He’s never questioned how to do something. He always trusts his coaches and if they say, ‘Block it this way, run the route this way,’ he does it. He doesn’t question it. He wants to absorb everything he can and be the best he can be. He’s a great teammate. His teammates love him to death and he was a great leader for us.”
Smythe still has plenty of room to improve as well.
“He just turned 17 in August, so he’ll walk on Notre Dame’s campus in August and be turning 18. By the time he’s 20 years old, 21, he’s going to be a man. The kid’s got a lot of growing to do.”