RENTON — With their second fifth-round pick (No. 158 overall) on Saturday, the Seahawks selected Tyreke Smith, a 6-foot-3, 254-pound outside linebacker out of Ohio State. Here’s what you need to know about Smith:
1. He has a basketball background.
That is a theme among a lot of these Seahawks draft picks. They’re good all-around athletes, with basketball backgrounds.
Smith might be the best basketball player of the bunch. He was a four-year varsity player at his Cleveland high school and led the team in scoring and rebounding as a senior. His parents both played small-college basketball, and so did his older brother.
Smith spent much of his childhood in Southern California, and he recalled a pickup game playing against Seahawks legend Bobby Wagner about a decade ago in the Los Angeles area.
“I used to play basketball with his cousin and Bobby Wagner, he had just gotten drafted by Seattle,” Smith recalled. “He came up to the rec center to play basketball. He was good too.”
Who won that pickup game?
“He definitely did,” said Smith, who would’ve been around 12 or 13 years old at the time. “I couldn’t actually believe his athleticism. He was sneaky bouncy. He was getting thrown ‘oops’ left and right.”
2. He was a late bloomer in football.
Smith had two concussions while playing pee wee football, and after that his mom wouldn’t let him play anymore. He focused on basketball after that.
It wasn’t until his family moved back to Cleveland that he picked up football again. Almost immediately, even before his first high school football game, scholarship offers began flooding in for Smith.
By his senior year, he would become a top-50 national recruit and was named the Cleveland.com defensive player of the year and the all-Ohio co-defensive player of the year.
“I didn’t start playing until my junior year of high school, so I still feel like I’m getting better every day,” he said at the combine. “I feel like when I get to the NFL, I can really hone into what I’m capable of.”
3. Let Tyreke cook, anyone?
OK, a bit premature on that. But Smith said he does love to cook, having learned from his father growing up. He’s also taken some cooking courses over the years.
His favorite dish to make — lobster macaroni.
“When I’m in my free time, I cook,” he said. “My dad always taught me how to cook when I was younger and let me cook with him. So I just always kept that trait with me growing up.”