Thus, his letters switched from "TE" to "QB."
"I was always thinking about playing high school football, then college, with the dream of obviously making it to the pros," he said. "I sat down with my dad, and we made the decision that there weren't a lot of receivers out there of my type [suspect speed].
"I had a decent arm and the decision was made - play quarterback."
The 6-4, 220-pound Smith, a senior, thus far has played seven games for George Washington High - 6-1 overall and the strong Public League Class AAAA favorite - after starring for 2 years at Father Judge.
When coach Ron Cohen, now in his 26th season, was asked yesterday, before practice, lounging on the sofa in his office, whether Smith is the best passer he has coached, there was no hemming. No hawing, either.
"I'd have to say he is," Cohen said.
He added, "Aaron Wilmer [last year's starter] was our best overall quarterback, because he also had the running ability. But Tony, he just lays that ball out there so nice. It allows the receivers to go get it."
In his latest impressive outing, Smith passed 11-for-21 for 148 yards and three touchdowns on Friday as Washington bested Salesianum, of Wilmington, Del., previously unbeaten and a defending state champion, 27-6.
His season totals show 49 completions in 99 attempts for 829 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also threw for 13 TDs in each of his two varsity seasons with Judge, and his career numbers read 265-for-519 (51 percent) for 3,667 yards and 39 scores.
Purdue recently stopped by school to speak with Smith and pick up game tapes. He knows South Carolina and Lehigh have watched his games, and he has received secondhand info that Pitt and Kent State are also sniffing.
"It's all pretty exciting," he acknowledged.
Smith's transfer created quite a stir on the high school football trail. Smith has said all along that he wasn't recruited by Washington, that he left Judge for financial reasons and that he shunned Lincoln, which happens to be an easy walk (even a crawl) from his house, because it appears on a list of persistently dangerous schools.
While standing in the bleachers, occasionally taking a glance at a JV game matching Washington and Germantown, he repeated that scenario yesterday.
Lest folks think otherwise, Smith and Judge are not on the outs.
"It was tough to leave Judge," he said. "I definitely wanted to graduate from there and still be around my friends. Sometimes, things don't work out the right way. This is how it is. And everybody here has been great to me. Sure, my Judge friends bust on me about leaving, but we still hang out."
It would not be a stretch to say Washington's rosters includes half, if not more, of the Public League's top 10 skill players. Aside from Smith, there's junior rusher Hakeem Sillman, wideouts Daquan Cooper (Temple commit) and junior Nate Smith (no relation), and tight end Claudy Mathieu (6-4, 210). On many other teams, handyman English "Buddy" Peay would be the top running back. And Brandon Chudnoff (another Temple commit) would have been the Pub's best tight end, had he not agreed to move to guard.
"We are loaded at the skill positions," Cohen said. "We have another three to four guys who don't get to play. We don't have experienced linemen, but thank God they're getting better."
The center is Mike McGlashen. Austin McGrath and Melvin Gonzalez have been sharing the other guard spot. The tackles are Tyrone Smith and Justin Moody.
Thus far, Cooper boasts 18 catches for 338 yards and five TDs. Nate Smith's numbers are 15-276-5.
"They're college receivers and they're getting me ready for the next level," Tony Smith said. "They catch the ball. Just have to get it to them. They run so fast off the line. And after they make the catch, they have the ability to make people miss.
"They're so similar. I actually get them confused sometimes. As they're running downfield, I'm not always sure which one's which. I have to see the uniform number.
"Nothing against Judge, but this is the most talented team I've been on in my life. Everybody makes plays on offense, defense, special teams. The speed's incredible."
At Judge, Smith was a starting basketball forward and, yes, he does plan to play for the Eagles. Baseball is also a possibility.
There's no doubt football is his favorite sport, however, and while the Eagles are his A-No. 1 team, his QB crush is directed toward Brett Favre, "because I like how he fights for his team. He"ll even go downfield to make a block."
Despite his accomplishments, Smith is hardly satisfied.
"I want to improve the form on my release," he said, "and the power of my throws."
But most of all?
"I want to win. A championship. That's what I want."