Brecksville (Ohio) Broadview Heights defensive end Mike Tyler racked up close to 20 scholarship offers during his recruitment, but his Vanderbilt offer came about different than all the others.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Tyler holds a 3.9 GPA in the classroom and has already scored a 32 on the ACT. He values academic opportunities as much as the athletic opportunities in college, and through his research the three-star prospect identified Vanderbilt as a university that appealed to him on both levels.
Despite holding numerous scholarship offers at that time, Tyler took it upon himself to contact the Vanderbilt coaching staff and see if he could work out for them in hopes of earning an offer.
Article Continues Below
"I talked to them before I came to camp to make sure they knew who I was," Tyler said. "They knew who Mike Tyler was, but they didn't know too much more than that. After the camp, it all changed from there."
Vanderbilt coaches informed Tyler on Tuesday that his camp performance had earned him a scholarship offer from the Commodores. By Saturday he was in Nashville visiting the campus and before the weekend was out Tyler had made his decision.
"I decided to commit to Vanderbilt tonight," Tyler said. "I love that I didn't have to compromise and choose great football over academics or great academics over football. At Vandy I can have it all. Add amazing coaches and great players and it was a no-brainer."
Before leaving Vanderbilt's campus on Sunday, Tyler informed head coach James Franklin and defensive line coach Sean Spencer of his decision.
"I let them know after we talked awhile," Tyler said. "They were pretty ecstatic and ran through the coaches' hallways screaming out, 'We have a new Commodore.' That was awesome."
Vanderbilt's coaches had seen film of Tyler before working him out at their camp, but it was definitely the camp performance which was the catalyst for the scholarship offer.
"The big thing was, I was beating a lot of the big-time BCS offensive line recruits in the one-on-ones. From watching my film, they liked how I fit into their scheme and I reminded them of a couple of their players."
Tyler was not certain the opportunity at Vanderbilt would come after waiting the three weeks post-camp for the offer. Once it did, though, the Commodores shot immediately to the top of his list. Tyler went into this weekend's visit feeling that a commitment was likely, but he was not for sure until he finished his two-day stay on campus.
"Everything worked out perfectly and it was even better than I expected these last two days," Tyler said. "Not only is it the best conference in football, but it is top of the line academics. They have great Engineering, which I want to study. It's just a great fit for me and the right balance."
Tyler is Vanderbilt's 19th commitment in the class of 2013 and only the third player they have gotten out of Ohio in the last five classes.