ATHENS, Ga. — Ty Flournoy-Smith will be the first to admit he has had to make adjustments since arriving at Georgia.
The true freshman tight end spent his high school days playing more of a receiver role in Colquitt County’s spread offense. Now that Smith is on campus, he has learned the biggest difference between high school and college isn’t the position he’s playing but the speed of the game.
“It’d have to definitely be the game speed,” Flournoy-Smith said. “That’s the major difference. At the college level, it’s a lot faster.”
After a standout high school campaign in which Flournoy-Smith caught 88 passes for 1,361 yards and six touchdowns, some skepticism arised regarding his ability to block college defensive lineman.
“It was definitely something I worried about,” he said. “We ran the spread in high school but there were some formations where I was in a 3-point stance. It’s not like it’s something new, but it’s a lot different because I’m not quite the size for a tight end. I’m not big enough, but I’m getting my weight up.”
Flournoy-Smith, who now weighs 235 pounds, has been working as the third-string tight end this fall as he learns the playbook.
“Learning the plays is tough because in high school we ran 10 plays out of different formations,” he said. “Here, you have a whole playbook that you have to go by.”
Flournoy-Smith doesn’t have to look far for help, as No. 1 tight end Arthur Lynch has served as a mentor despite the two competing for the same position.
“Artie (Lynch) is a great guy,” Flournoy-Smith said. “He pushes me. When I first got up here, he said, ‘You better go, son. You better go.’”
“Everyone is trying to work for a spot. Even though we’re competing for that spot, if I get stuck on something or miss an assignment, he’ll pull me to the side. He and (No. 2 tight end) Jay Rome are both great guys.”
Flournoy-Smith said having high school teammate and Bulldog offensive lineman Xzavier Ward around has given him another person to help in his adjustment to the college game.
“It’s great to have people up here you know,” said Flournoy-Smith. “That way, you’re not a strange face. Whenever you need help, you can go to (Ward). It’s always good having somebody you know.”