Tyran Hunt (© Michael Clark/Scout)

Coach Speak: Willie Gillus On Tyran Hunt

Maryland secured a commitment from Southampton (Courtland, Va.) three-star offensive tackle Tyran Hunt Dec. 11. Afterwards, we spoke to his coach to gain more insight into the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder.

Maryland secured a commitment from Southampton (Courtland, Va.) three-star offensive tackle Tyran Hunt Dec. 11. Afterwards, we spoke to his coach, Willie Gillus, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder.

Our question-and-answer session with Gillus is below:

Terrapin Times: Coach, just some initial thoughts on Tyran committing to Maryland. Did you expect it?

Willie Gillus: Well, Maryland was always in the mix. For the last six, seven months they’ve been up there. And the big thing with Tyran is he and his family looked at everything – they looked at every offer. It was a family decision for them. It was a situation where Maryland had everything they wanted.

It’s a great location, it’s 3.5 hours from home – that was a big factor -- they had the educational aspects he was looking for with the mass-comm major, and it’s in an area where there are so many opportunities for him being near the nation’s capital and in the DMV area. And he knew it was an opportunity to play at one of the best conferences in the country. 

And just being able to work with coaches he felt comfortable with – I felt the coaches did a great job recruiting him and just being personable to Tyran. That’s big with him. Coming from this part of the country, having a man-to-man talk is important to him, so that was a big deal for him.

TT: Did you get a sense Maryland would be his choice, or did you think maybe UVA or Syracuse?

WG:  I thought Maryland, Virginia, Syracuse and Virginia Tech had a real good shot, but at the end it came down to the things I just mentioned. All of those schools are great schools, great programs, great coaches. But you can only attend one school, and when it came down to it, it came down to what he and his family felt about the people recruiting him. Who you want to put your son’s life and career in the hands of.

Ultimately, I feel like it was a great decision and both sides are going to benefit – Tyran and Maryland. It’s going to be reciprocal relationship.

TT: Can you break down Tyran's game for us? What does he bring to the table?

WG:  What he can do what the best of them is pass protection. He’s an awesome pass protector. He’s 6-7, 290 pounds with great length. He moves well, he runs well and his best football is still ahead of him. He’ll be 300 pound kid that looks like he’s 270, and with great mobility. That’s what you want.

And he’s a smart guy, he’s very intelligent, and he understands pass blocking. He’s been taught pass protection and knows what to do. He’s really benefitted a lot by learning. Plus, he has all the intangibles -- intelligence, strength, speed.

He’s a guy who I could see playing left or right tackle. His best football is ahead of him, and I could see Tyran potentially becoming one of the best players in that conference.

I played quarterback in the NFL, and I’ve been around athletes and offensive linemen. I know what it takes to get there, and Tyran has it all. I look forward to watching his career at the University of Maryland.

TT: And what are some areas he still needs to work on?

WG: Like all young players, just getting used to the college level and playing against guys as big and strong as he is, and that can move as well as he does. Most of his high school career was him playing against smaller players, so now he’s getting a chance to play against guys as fast and physical as he is. But he’s going to grow and get better under Coach Borbely, who is going to make Tyran a better player. Once he gets everything down, look out – he’s going to be a really good football player.

I played quarterback in the NFL, and I’ve been around athletes and offensive linemen. I know what it takes to get there, and Tyran has it all. I look forward to watching his career at the University of Maryland.

TT: What was the recruiting process like with the Maryland coaches and Coach London? What did you think of those guys? I know they came through the school several times.

WG: They were great. I’ve known Mike London for 20-plus years. I have a great relationship with him and have known him and all the way back before Virginia and Richmond. I’ve known him from being from Newport News and Hampton.

I know several others on the Maryland staff as well, and they were no strangers to me. It was a very good relationship, as it was with the other coaches that recruited Tyran. But with Maryland, it was a very good situation and I feel comfortable leaving him in the hands of the Maryland staff.

TT: Coach, Tyran told me he actually quit football in eighth grade. Talk about how you guys got him back on track and also how he developed over the years.

WG: The story he told me was he didn’t like football. But my first week there, I went over to the middle school and there he was. I saw him walking the halls, and I grabbed him and talked to him and said I wanted to see him move around. And I couldn’t believe the athleticism, the length, and just the kid being so personable. He was great.

His sophomore, junior years are when the attention really started. Once I saw him move, I called everybody. Southampton is not a place recruiters come all the time, so I was calling people like crazy. I called some people five, six times and I didn’t stop until I got them on the phone. And once they saw him, they knew he was the real deal.

But really Tyran’s junior year is when he took off. He spent a lot of time in the weight room and got really strong; he put on like 20-some pounds. That was the turning point for him. When people came to see him then, they couldn’t believe how big he was. They thought he was just a long, gangly guy, but when they saw him near 280 pounds, that’s when the offers started coming.

Then we settled in, got a plan together, and the family looked at all the options. And after a long process, they came to the decision that it was going to be the Maryland Terrapins. 

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