One of the true freshman that many believe will help on the Bearcat defense this season is Terrill Byrd. This defensive tackle was selected by Prep.com as its National Defensive Player of the Year, and some of the local high school coaches have described him as a "freak" because of his size, strength and speed.
BCI sat down with Terrill Byrd during the Media Day luncheon at UC and asked questions that are on many fans' minds.
Fans have speculated about Terrill's size, including me, so we asked Terrill himself. "I'm 6 foot even and right now I weight 295 pounds." The next issue was to ask if the reports of his bench pressing 500 pounds at Colerain were true. "Yes. I benched 500 pounds in high school. I did it." Terrill has attended some weight room workouts at UC and was able to bench a respectable 400 pounds but wasn't able to match his Colerain lifts. Terrill gave some reasons why. "I did 365 pounds about five times before I benched 400. I think that wore me down a little bit." The Bearcat record on the bench is held by Kirt Doolin with a lift of 495 pounds. We asked Terrill if he plans to break the record during his career at UC. "My goal is to get bigger and stronger, but I'm not focused on the record. If I break it, I break it."
Another of Terrill's assets is his incredible speed and quickness. He admitted that he hadn't yet been timed in the 40 yard dash at UC, but he ran a 4.8 forty at Colerain last year.
Despite his great senior season at Colerain, Terrill considered very few other schools before choosing Cincinnati. "I looked at Akron and Toledo and Bowling Green a little bit, but I liked Cincinnati. Coach Dantonio and Coach Hinton seemed to care more about me as a person so I didn't really think about a lot of other schools after our season."
A 6 foot defensive tackle is considered pretty short by Division IA standards, but Terrill believes he can use it to his advantage. "A lot of offensive linemen are 6' 5" or so. I can get under them and move where I want to move." Terrill got a taste of big time college football when he played in the Big 33 all star game this summer. Pennsylvania's center was nearly 400 pounds, and Terrill felt the event's unusual rules worked against him. "The rules didn't allow for you to shade or angle. You had to go head up so I couldn't use my speed. I tried to go around him once, and they gave me a warning. I had to just try to fight him off. He was a good player, but I did alright."
Terrill's twin brother, Tirrdell, is playing football at Tennessee-Martin so the two are separated for the first time in a long time. That fact was driven home when practice started this week. "I talked to him this week and told him to do his best, and I was praying for him and thinking about him. He told me the same thing."
We couldn't end the conversation without talking about some of his old teammates at Colerain and asking if he felt any of them would follow him and fellow Cardinals Andre Revels and Dominick Goodman to UC. "I expect some of our coaches to return to Colerain and recruit some of those guys. I think a couple of guys could come here." We then asked who he felt was the best returning defender at Colerain this year. "I'd have to say linebacker Cobrani Mixon." Mixon has already given his verbal to Michigan.