IRVING, Texas --Just think for a second how far, and how fast, Tyron Smith's football career has evolved within the state of California.
In November 2007, he played his final game at Rancho Verde High against the Colton Yellowjackets.
Last December, he finished his junior year at Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl against UCLA.
Now this Sunday, at the age of 20, Smith's heading to Candlestick Park for his second career NFL start at right tackle against the San Francisco 49ers.
"It went by quick," he said this week. "Can't believe where I'm at right now."
So far he's handled it quite well, especially considering a hyperextended right knee initially threatened his availability last week against the Jets. Smith said he didn't feel any limitations in practice this week.
"I think that's admirable of a young guy that's 20 years old that had an injury that came out and I saw no problem with that whatsoever," offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. "And of course he doesn't complain at all."
Now he's going back to his home state for his biggest game yet. His parents and his sister will be there for support.
The Cowboys' first-round draft pick has come a long way from Moreno Valley in a very short period of time, indeed.