"It feels really great," he said, "just going against the best people out here, competing and trying to be number one."
Working with Core 6 this offseason has allowed him to see top competition and he also got a taste of a higher level late last season.
"I played freshmen football, but for the last varsity game, I played and had a touchdown. It was fun. I didn't know what was going on, but the older players took me under their wing and showed me what to do."
At this early point in time, Smalling says he is not hearing from any schools yet. He said he would go to college camps this summer "if I get invited to them."
And the programs he'd most like to camp with?
"Probably schools in the SEC."