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Larry Johnson's Tutelage To Ease Tyreke Smith’s Transition To Linebacker With Seattle Seahawks

Smith played defensive end with the Buckeyes but will be an outside linebacker in the Seahawks' 3-4 scheme.

Former Ohio State defensive end Tyreke Smith will be playing a new position after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round of last month’s NFL Draft.

However, he’s confident his experience learning from legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson will ease his transition to outside linebacker, especially after seeing former Buckeye Jonathon Cooper make the same move with Denver Broncos last year.

“We did it sometimes, but not as much as other schools would,” Smith told reporters in a post-draft interview when asked if he’d ever played in a 3-4 scheme. “We definitely worked it in practice, almost every day in practice. Coach J was adamant about us working on all of our techniques, so I’m definitely comfortable with dropping.”

While Ohio State’s offense gets all of the headlines, the Buckeyes’ defense struggled at times over the last two seasons. Still, Smith led the team with 36 pressures, which is why he was the only defensive player from Ohio State selected this year.

Smith believes that his ability to rush the quarterback – and the chance to be fully healthy after dealing with various injuries and a bout with COVID-19 during his time in Columbus – will ultimately make him successful in Seattle.

“I’m just always attacking, pass-rushing-wise, and I feel like I'm quick off the ball and my get-off gives me an upper hand over opponents,” Smith said. “I just feel like how dominant I am and my motor to the ball, I feel like I just fit in great with the defense.”

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