Tyler Mugar: Diamond in the Rough

You've heard it said before. High School football recruiting is a ‘crap shoot'. So often dictated by the rigid constraints of height, weight and competition level, the formula for earning an FBS scholarship offer sometimes ignores the most central of questions: can the prospect actually play? Both Army and Navy are very interested.

In the case of Melbourne (Fl) High School athlete Tyler Mugar, the answer is a resounding "yes." Mugar, who at 5-foot-8, 150-pounds may not "look" the part of an FBS or even FCS-ready defensive back, recently returned from the Charleston Southern University football camp in Charleston, South Carolina. It was there that the fast-twitch athlete showed off his skills, sticking to receivers like super glue in one-on-one coverage and running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 and 4.43 seconds, respectively.

If the host of coaches in attendance at the camp were surprised, then shame on them. After all, Mugar hadn't exactly come out of nowhere. The three year varsity starter was a standout during June's Randy Shannon Football Camp at The University of Miami, turning in sub 4.5 second 40-yard dash times and showing a penchant for blanketing some of the best prep receivers in the south Florida area.

And while Mugar has yet to pick up a single formal scholarship offer, coaches and schools are starting to notice the previously unheralded prep star.

"There are about 12 or 13 colleges that have shown interest in him, and his recruiting over the last 90 days has really picked up," said Tyler's father, Steve, who served as a Marine during the 1980s and early 1990s. "[Tyler] had real good showing at the University of Miami camp and the Charleston Southern camp, and the word is starting to get out."

According to Steve Mugar, the two schools which have shown the most interest in Tyler to this point are FCS member Charleston Southern University and Division II Harding University. Two schools which Tyler hopes to hear more from, however, are Army and Navy. Tyler explained that his attraction to the two service academies is only natural given the example set by his father's service in the Marine Corps.

"I like the idea of serving the country, and how [the Academies] train you in leadership," Tyler said. "I think it's a great tradition and it helps you grow up. My father was in the Marine Corps for a long time and he spoke well of the military and what it stands for and what it did for him. I've watched my father handle life, and have thought that it would be a good time [for me] to look into Army or Navy."

Steve Mugar reported that his son's contact with Army and Navy is still in the initial stages, but said that the interest level has been picking up over the last few weeks.

"We've been in touch with Army and Navy through emails, and they have his videos. Right now Tyler is just feeling his way through, but we're interested that he'll be able to go to a place which would -- first of all -- fit him academically, but also a place where he could be able to grow and contribute to the team."

Aside from his quick feet and outstanding footwork, Tyler's on-field strengths include his versatility and willingness to play any number of positions. While his primary position at Melbourne is defensive cornerback, Tyler has also played wide receiver, safety, kick returner, and even gunner for his high school team. During the 2008 season, Muger recorded 53 tackles, two forced fumbles, four interceptions and 17 passes defended from his cornerback position, while also catching 13 passes for 187 yards in what was a primarily run-based offense. A phenomenal all-around athlete who also benches 220-pounds and squats 350-pounds, Mugar returned a kickoff 96-yards for a touchdown during Melbourne's 2008 season.

Both Tyler and Steve Mugar admit that Tyler's relatively small stature may be scaring bigger name FBS and FCS teams away, but both remain hopeful that Tyler's superior athleticism and inclination for hard work will eventually land him a scholarship offer. As far as attending a service academy such as Army goes, Steve Mugar said that it's an opportunity that Tyler would welcome with open arms.

"I think going to a Service Academy is right up there for Tyler. I don't think he is looking to go after just any school which throws him an offer…I think you really have to evaluate the whole package -- the coaches, the system itself, the academics, and what [the school] is going to do for him as a man."

Added Steve Mugar, "He knows how important the service academies are and the core values they teach, and they line up with what he wants."

Stay Tuned to ArmySports.com all season as we continue to update you on Tyler Mugar and the rest of Army's 2010 recruiting prospects.

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