Tyler Feeling the Heat

Maryland commit Dontez Tyler is struggling so far in his senior season but seeks a turnaround.

On the first day where coaches were allowed to contact to their team’s recruits, Terps assistant coach Charles Bankins called one of the teams’ most prized player-to-be: Dontez Tyler.

Tyler, a defensive end playing for Hertford County High School, said Bankins just wanted to touch base and find out when he’d be seeing him.

” [Coach Bankins was] checking up on me and he asked how things were going on the football field and about the family and he asked me when I was coming up [to Maryland],” Tyler said.

Unfortunately, Tyler delivered bad news to his future coach. Two games into Tyler’s senior season, the pass rusher is off to a slow start. Nonetheless, he has no worries about turning things around.

“I’m off to a slow start, but I have practiced very hard this week so I’m looking forward to having a good game tomorrow,” Tyler said, referring his Sept. 3 matchup against Nash Central.

“The two teams that we played – both only threw the ball three times, so I couldn’t do what I’m good at – and that’s sacking the quarterback,” he added.

Nash Central will feature, according to Hertford County head coach Scott Privott, “a really good, hard running back,” as well as a “quarterback who makes great decisions with the football.”

In other words, it looks like Tyler is in for a challenge – and there’s no doubt he seems poised to take it on head first. The combination of his work ethic, knowledge of the game and desire to win should be enough fuel.

“I know I will turn around because I watch game films from the last two games and watch what I did wrong and what I have to improve, or what I didn’t do that particular play that I should have,” Tyler explained. “I know what I have to do to make my season go the way I want it to and have a better season than I did last season.”

Both coach Privott and coach Bankins offered Tyler advice concerning his rough start. Bankins told that “it be might be like that sometimes,” while Privott took another approach.

“He said the underclassmen look up to me, so I have to step up and take a leadership role because I’m a senior,” Tyler said.

Tyler’s team is off to a 2-0 start, regardless of what individual statistics read. And that is really what gets Tyler excited, and has him hopeful for a state championship.

Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, another North Carolina native, is a favorite of Tyler’s. Like Tyler, Peppers is a notorious slow starter. In four of Pepper’s eight seasons, Peppers has recorded more sacks in the second half of the season than in the first, including 10.5 sacks versus three in 2008, his career-best year.

Tyler also said that his trying his best to get to the University of Maryland campus to visit, and he is eager to attend a game for the 2010 Terps.

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