By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Belton High School 2013 graduate and Belton Tigers’ Wall of Fame member Durham Smythe has been waiting for this opportunity since he planted his cleats on the Notre Dame turf.
University of Notre Dame Spring Football 2015 will be the prime chance for the former Tiger to step out of the shadows, into the limelight and become one of the best tight ends on the Irish roster, but in NCAA Division I.
Smythe was one of the most sought after tight-ends in the country within the 2013 recruiting class, garnering offers from Oregon, Florida, Georgia and in state at the University of Texas. But Smythe chose Notre Dame, a football powerhouse known for developing some of the best tight ends to play in the National Football League. “Tight-End U” currently has four players in the NFL who played the position for the Irish: the Detroit Lions’ Joseph Fauria, Cincinnati Bengals’ Tyler Eifert, and Minnesota Vikings John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph.
The battle Smythe faces for the starting tight-end will be an uphill one, competing against sophomore Tyler Luatua and incoming true freshman Alize Jones, one of the best tight end recruits in the 2015 class. Luatua started in one game and played in 10 games for the Irish in 2014, in primarily a pass-blocking role. Jones creates matchup problems for opponents, having the prototypical tight-end build at 6’5” and has the vertical that could make the freshman valuable in the red zone.
Smythe’s experience could be his best asset. His experiences under former Belton head coach Rodney Southern and offensive coordinator David Brewer, with former quarterbacks David Ash and Peter Shelburne at Belton, added with his time at South Bend in the Fighting Irish offensive system, could help Irish quarterbacks Malik Zaire and Everett Golson in being a go-to guy in being in the right place at the right time.