We asked Tyler how he got the nickname "Tank". "My first day of practice at E.E. Smith, Coach Coltharp called me the "Tank" and it has stuck ever since." The moniker sticks because he continues to mow down lineman who oppose him. "I enjoy knocking people down."
E.E. Smith opened up with Jack Britt High Friday night and for the second straight year they went down to defeat, losing 19-6. Smith committed six turnovers, two of them leading to Jack Britt touchdowns. "We lost the game because of our mistakes. We turned the ball over way too much and gave them easy opportunities." In the losing effort, Tyler played well on both sides of the ball. "We are trying to run on the opposite side of the line from me. Teams are preparing to defend against my side and this gives us additional options."
Tank continues to work for improvement. He stays in the weight room in hopes of getting stronger. "The last time I maxed out on the press, I was at 435, but that was a while ago. I have not checked lately. I am lifting to build my strength for the fourth quarter. I curl, squat and do butterflies when I lift" Tank said.
Suitors need to finalize their pitches soon, because Tyler wants to be able decide before November. "I plan on graduating early and I want to enroll in January. I am receiving letters from many schools. They want me to come to games and stuff. NC State and UNC have both offered. They are my top two." Neither has a lead right now according to Tank. Curt Cignetti from NC State and UNC's Hal Hunter are the primary recruiters for his services but he hears from everyone on both coaching staffs.
According to Tank, he has the core curriculum and grades to qualify. "I need to improve my SAT some, but I am not that far off. I hope to get the scores up this fall."
E.E. Smith and Tank made the state playoffs in its first year (2001-02) in the Two Rivers Conference and suffered a narrow loss to Eastern 4-A finalist Richmond in the first round of the playoffs. Tank was named to the All Conference Second Team for his efforts.