Throughout the four years he spent as a tackle for the Miami Hurricanes, Tyree St. Louis never considered he might one day wind up as a guard. Even after he wrapped up his career last month and accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game, St. Louis figured the furthest he’d go from left tackle, where he started all 13 games as a senior, would be back to right tackle, which he started games at the previous two seasons. He even told the Shrine Game he wanted to get work at both spots this month as he began preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft.
When he arrived in St. Petersburg earlier this week, coaches wanted to thrust one more idea upon him: How about he played some guard?
“I was like, Wow, this is going to be interesting,” St. Louis said.
In the second quarter of the Shrine Game on Saturday at Tropicana Field, St. Louis got his first real test run at the position. A knee injury cut his audition short at less than one drive, but in those few snaps he proved why some scouts think St. Louis can max out his potential as an interior lineman.
St. Louis started the game at right tackle for the East and played the first two drives there. His most interesting stretch, however, came on the East’s penultimate drive of the first half in an eventual 21-17 loss to the West. St. Louis checked in at left guard with 7:05 remaining in the second quarter and the ball at the East’s own 25-yard line. St. Louis played six plays at guard before quarterback Jordan Ta’amu from the Mississippi Rebels rolled up on St. Louis’ left knee and knocked the offensive lineman out of the game. With St. Louis in the interior, the East had moved all the way out to its own 47-yard line.
“I have all the natural attributes that a tackle has: great feet, good center of gravity, long hands, long arms, really good speed and power,” St. Louis said after the Shrine Game on Saturday. “It’s just now moving that inside makes things a lot easier.”
St. Louis said the knee felt fine by the end of the game and the only reason he didn’t play in the second half was because the rotations were already set. Michael Jackson Sr., on the other hand, missed his chance to make a strong impression in the Tampa Bay Area. After participating in practices early in week, the defensive back from Miami suffered an undisclosed injury before the final practice Thursday. He didn’t suit up in the Shrine Game on Saturday in front of 19,654.
Despite the injuries, both St. Louis and Jackson flashed their promise in spots. Jackson was a standout at Day 1 of practice Monday ahead of the senior all-star showcase, using his 6-foot-1 frame to break up passes. On Saturday, St. Louis put together a solid stretch at a new position. Chad Reuter, an Draft analyst for the NFL, even took notice with a quick Twitter message.
“Nice to [see] Tyree St. Louis at LG today,” wrote Reuter, who covers the draft for NFL.com. “Definitely his best position.”
St. Louis will now head up to Gulf Breeze to train with EXOS until the NFL Draft in April. His first foray at guard since his high school days at Tampa Bay Tech was short Saturday, but it’s only the start.
“Every single day I got much better,” St. Louis said. “In the very beginning I was still kind of moving and playing like I was at tackle, kind of like I had all that space, all that time, going against different guys. At guard, everything’s a lot more quicker, intense and physical, so it’s just a little change of atmosphere.”