From OL Meares Green and FB Taylor Gentry to LB Robbie Leonard and S Bobby Floyd, few teams in the nation were forced to utilize more current or former walk-ons in 2008 than NC State. And while the Wolfpack coaching staff would likely prefer to rely less on walk-ons, the added talent can be a bonus in certain situations. Headed into the 2009 season, State will welcome another talented walk-on to the team.
After transferring from South Stokes to East Forsyth High School for the 2008 season, Kernersville standout Tyler Kloc proved to be the quintessential utility player. Lining up at offensive tackle, slot receiver and tight end on offense and defensive tackle and defensive end on defense, he played a huge role in Forsyth’s success last season. In all, Kloc tallied 77 tackles and seven pass receptions for 197 yards en route to team MVP and all-conference honors.
Now at 6-3, 240 pounds, Kloc had all but given up on a career in college football until he decided to give it one more shot.
“Near the end of it, I had pretty much given up on football,” said Kloc.”I finished up my senior season and I really didn’t get what I wanted from the recruiting process. After that, I went back and looked at all my games and with the team, the family, I felt like I needed to give it at least one more shot. I was planning on going to State anyway so I asked my coach what I needed to do to send them my film and send them a letter to let them know I was interested in walking on. Coach Willard ending up sending my film out and I guess coach Reed (NC State defensive back’s coach Mike Reed) got a hold of it, saw it and liked it.”
Kloc said he had interest from several smaller schools but all along, felt like State was where he was headed.
“I had several D-2 and some D-1AA schools looking at me. They were all saying if I came and visited they were going to offer me. They said they wanted me to know they were offering and if I came down they’d let me know how much money and stuff like that.
“For me, academics were a big thing too and I wanted to make sure that I could be successful for the future. I pretty much had my mind made up I was going to NC State, no matter what unless I got a big D1-AA or D-1 scholarship came along.”
For Kloc, it came as a huge relief when he learned that he had received preferred walk-on status from the Wolfpack coaches, allowing him to continue his football career.
“I’ve been talking to coach Reed about everything,” said Kloc. “I was nervous and there were a couple of sleepless nights because I was just thinking that I hoped I would get it. But then coach Willard told me that he had talked to coach Reed and he was pretty sure I was going to get that preferred walk-on spot but he was going to talk to the other coaches and see what they thought. I wound up talking to him again and he let me know that I got the spot. It was definitely one of the greater moments in my life.”
With his future at NC State set, Kloc is now preparing for his arrival in Raleigh later this year. He’s working hard to balance the demands of baseball and football.
“I’m playing baseball right now so it’s kind of hard to train, gain weight, get stronger and get faster while that’s going on. So, I work out in the morning before school. I lift weights during weight class and then I play baseball after school.”
When Kloc does kick off his season next September with the Pack, he’ll likely encounter a couple of current teammates down the road who will be playing their college ball for two ACC rivals. OL David Collins signed with UNC this past February while QB Danny O’Brien will suit up for Maryland. Kloc said there’s been some fun bantering going back and forth between the three.
“There’s been some friendly trash talking,” he said. “I told David (Collins), ‘I’m just going to let you know, if I play defense I’m going to get to the quarterback’. And then with Danny, I told him, ‘if I sack you man, I’m sorry’. But of course with the NC State-Carolina rivalry, David Collins was probably one of my first teammates that I made friends with so I’m always saying, ‘Go Pack’ and then he starts yapping something about Carolina.”