VAUGHT: The Dakotah Tyler Story, Pt 3

"We have a few kids on the team that have jobs. We're not different from a lot of schools," the coach said. "But the kids who do have jobs know that football comes first and they work with their employers to get their schedules worked out.

"We have a few kids on the team that have jobs. We're not different from a lot of schools," the coach said. "But the kids who do have jobs know that football comes first and they work with their employers to get their schedules worked out. Dakotah always keeps his priorities straight. He knows it should always be faith, family, education and football. He knows that is the priority. He does a good job of that and works when he can."

He has had the same work ethic in the classroom because his parents gave him no other choice. "My parents are always on me for grades. That is probably why my grades are good as they are. Football and working out, that is just me. They more concerned with grades," Tyler said "If I get a C, then I could not go to practice or play in a game. But that has been good for me. I have some friends who are Division I players who might no go to school because of academic problems.

"I know earlier in my career I thought they were being too hard on me. I would get A's, B's and one C and I would not able go school or practice and others that would get a D or F had parents that didn't care or would just let them go. Now I have good grades and some of those guys are not playing or not able to go to college because of their grades."

Athletically, there apparently was never a question about Tyler's potential. He started football when he was in the fourth grade. He played baseball when he was even younger and was just as good in that sport as well.

"I was on travel and all-star teams in baseball. I played basketball, too, but I drifted toward football more. I eventually quit baseball and stuck with football, and I'm glad I did," Tyler said.

Moyers said Tyler, who ran the 40-yard dash under 4.4 seconds at one combine, could excel on defense or offense. He played safety as a junior because Pike was solid at running back.

"Then we were just messing around one day and threw him back there and let him run the football," Moyers said. "Darren McFadden was doing the Wild Hog at Arkansas then. We put together a package for him and brought it out late in the season. He averaged 10 to 12 yards every time he touched the football. We knew then we had to get the ball in his hands as a senior. We did and he rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 19 touchdowns.

"He is definitely a running back in college. He could play safety, but coach (Rich) Brooks and (running backs coach Larry) Brinson and (Joker) Philips all recruited him and have seen his film and have seen what he can do with the ball in his hands. He can help return kicks and punts. Any time he gets the ball in his hands, he is electrifying. The sooner you get ball to that kid, they better off you will be.



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