Already holding offers from Syracuse and Central Michigan, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Penn State, and Maryland have all been in contact recently with Smallwood, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound running back from Cornwall Central High (New Windsor, N.Y.).
"Rutgers called and I had to send video and transcripts over there last week,'' Cornwall Central coach Marcus Hughes said. "He's probably one of the best athletes on the east coast. The thing about the kid is he's fast. You can't teach the speed.''
Smallwood rushed 175 times for 1,541 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior. He also caught 14 passes for 233 yards and three scores, and returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns.
"When you get a guy like Tyree, he literally wins you games because he's that much better than everybody,'' Hughes said. "He's very fast. He's explosive, quick.''
Smallwood admits the recruiting picked up markedly in the last two weeks, and he has a lot to think about because of the newfound interests. But right now one school is standing above the others.
"Cincinnati is a school I really like,'' Smallwood said. "I'm going to visit there soon. The last three years I've been watching them. The play-calling is really diverse. I like the way they play. It's not all running and not all passing. They have balance.''
Smallwood's only unofficial visit was to Syracuse, where he attended Junior Day. He also plans to visit Maryland in the near future, and will check out Rutgers either for spring practice or in the summer.
"I'm going go (to Rutgers) soon and visit their school,'' he said. "That school is good, too. It's close to home, if I wanted to play where my family could watch. That's if I end up going there. It's a good school.''
Smallwood said his experience at Syracuse was positive, and it included watching the Orange play Villanova in basketball.
"It was a amazing,'' he said. "The game was amazing. The school, the coaches, it was all very nice. The dome is fantastic. Fans are crazy there.''
There are a few reasons why Smallwood's recruitment took time to heat up.
First, Cornwall Central isn't in an area known for producing loads of Division I talent, so even when talent evaluators see him, the level of competition is usually a red flag.
Second, Smallwood wasn't introduced to the weight room until recently, and he played last season at 165 pounds.
"Overall, the talent level around this area isn't the great, but there are some really good players,'' Hughes said. "And those really good players stick out because they dominate like they're supposed to.''
Check out the video of Smallwood's junior season: