Tyson readies for football at Georgia

ATHENS – Normally, at Joseph's Home for Boys in Statesboro, they buy their clothes off the rack. And, normally, the house phone doesn't ring off the hook with some of the most well-known coaches in college football on the other end of the line.

Normal, though, started to go out the window four years ago at Joseph's. That's when one of its longtime residents, DeAngelo Tyson, entered his freshman year at Statesboro High School and began to blossom into a football star.

It was about then that Amy Futch, the administrative director at Joseph's, had to start pulling out clothes catalogs as Tyson grew into the 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive lineman who will sign a football scholarship with Georgia on Feb. 6.

Joseph's, a group home that takes boys ages 8 to 18 from the state's Department of Family and Children's Services, always had relied on clothing donations for its needs.

"With DeAngelo we do have to special order a lot of things," she said.

Tyson has been at Joseph's since he was 11 years old. His parents, he said, live in Savannah. His relationship with them, he said, "is in the past."

Joseph's has a maximum capacity of 15 and usually is filled to nearly that number. Paid house parents trade shifts to keep adults there at all times. Tyson has a room, which he calls an apartment, upstairs.

"The place I stay here is very good," he said. "It's a great group of people here who want to see you succeed, so they push you to be a better person."

The attention surrounding the home during Tyson's recruitment has been "surreal," Futch said.

"I think it's been a wonderful thing for DeAngelo and very positive for the home," she said. "We've watched him grow from a little boy into the big gentle giant that he is. He's a fine young man, and we're all proud to say that we know him and have been part of his growing up. We've been blessed to be the parents that he never had."

Urban Meyer at Florida, Tommy Tuberville at Auburn and Bobby Bowden at Florida State all know about Joseph's now because they all offered Tyson a scholarship. That doesn't exactly put them in exclusive company. Most everybody in the Southeast and plenty of people around the nation hoped he would be signing with them this year.

"I've been very surprised with all this stuff," Tyson said. "It's very shocking, but I'm staying humble and trying to stay the same person I was before I started getting this attention and stuff."

Tyson is one of three players in the signing class Georgia is expected to bring in next week who is ranked a five-star prospect by Scout.com. He is considered the third-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com.

"He's one of those guys that you say, ‘Wow' when you watch him on film," said Scout.com Southeast analyst Miller Safrit. "On film, he's the best one that I've seen, and that's saying quite a bit."

Tyson picked Georgia over Florida because former Statesboro High School teammates John Knox and Justin Houston already are in Athens and because he felt comfortable with the coaching staff, he said. He describes himself as a run stopper who can "pass rush a little bit if I need to."

Tyson doesn't talk like the typical five-star prospect. For starters, he's already planning to redshirt next season. He can't imagine playing, he said, when he looks at a depth chart that already includes veterans Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, Kade Weston and Corvey Irvin.

"There's not need for me to try to play," he said. "I wouldn't be getting enough reps. I just want to take a year and get ready for the next year."

And he has no burning desire to play professional football, he said.

"I'm not really shooting for the NFL," he said. "If it comes to me, I'll go. It's not like a dream or anything."

He plans to major in criminal justice and one day would like to be a member of a SWAT team, he said.

"I think that would be more fun than playing football the rest of your life," he said.

Futch wouldn't be surprised to see Tyson work in the juvenile justice system or even as a youth social worker, she said.

"He has a heart bigger than most of the boys we work with," she said.

Tyson already has helped some boys in his community, Futch said.

"All of the boys (at Joseph's) are very proud of DeAngelo, " Futch said. "I think it has given some of the other boys we work with the belief that it can happen for him, not just athletically but in anyway, that they can make something out of their lives. It makes it more of a reality."


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