Up Close: Tyler Alberts, Part I

LEWISVILLE, N.C. --- Mark Moroz, Forsyth Country Day School's head football coach, has been singing Tyler Alberts's praises to Division I coaching staffs since the spring.

"I [played football at] Wake [Forest], I coached at Wake for a couple of years, [and] I have a strong relationship with that staff," Moroz said. "I told them plenty of times about Tyler and brought him to the seven-on-seven… [I was] calling them up [and] saying this is a kid you need to watch out for."

Just looking at Alberts, a 6-foot-8, 220-pounder, it's easy to see why Moroz felt the way he did. The problem was, Alberts wasn't playing football and hadn't strapped on the pads in nearly four years.

Alberts began his prep career at West Forsyth High School. After playing junior varsity football during his freshman year, he decided to focus solely on baseball.

"Baseball was what I thought I was going to play in college," Alberts said. "I was really a lot better at baseball then. I wanted to [continue] to play football, but my summer schedule conflicted with it."

About a year ago, Alberts, then a senior, transferred to Forsyth Country Day because of its baseball program. The transfer forced him to reclassify to a junior.

"Since it is a private school, the academic standards are pretty high here," Moroz said. "A lot of times, people that transfer in from a public school, we'll test them and figure out what level they should be at. Often times that means reclassifying… It's all done by academic testing – that determines which level we need to start our students at."

Despite his exclusive baseball focus, Moroz couldn't help but imagine the possibilities of having Alberts on his football team.

"I knew the kid and we were always begging him to come out and play football," Moroz said. "I was just like ‘Man, he'd be a pretty good defensive end.'"

While working a basketball camp, Moroz and Rob Lewis, who coaches both football and baseball at Forsyth Country Day, invited Alberts to join the football team just for Wake Forest's seven-on-seven camp.

"They said I didn't have to play the [football] season – they just needed some extra bodies because they were running short on players," Alberts said.

With an empty schedule, Alberts accepted the invitation. Not only was he an "extra body," he was a legitimate receiving threat at tight end during the seven-on-seven.

"For Tyler to never really play football before and dominate the seven-on-seven [was impressive]," Alberts said. "What quarterback is not going to like a 6-8 target? What impressed me most was his athleticism. He was one of our top receivers and could run routes."

Following the seven-on-seven, Alberts returned to his baseball world. But the seed was planted.

"I really enjoyed [the seven-on-seven]," Alberts said. "When I first got out there and started playing, I realized how much I missed it and how much I really wanted to play [football], and I was doing pretty well."

However, Alberts's fall baseball schedule conflicted with the football season. That didn't stop Lewis from recruiting Alberts to the football team.

"Coach Lewis kept coaching [Alberts] in baseball [during the summer] and kept saying ‘Hey, you ready to come out for football?'" Moroz said. "And then we all kind of got on him. We just recognized that this kid had a real bright future in football – if he did it right."

Alberts gave in and with his parents blessings joined the football team.

Not only did he earn a starting job at both tight end and defensive end, Alberts excelled.

"He's been a huge asset to our team," Moroz said. "It wasn't a surprise, but he wasn't the player I was expecting to have. I was blown away with how quickly he picked up everything."

In six games, Alberts, who is often flanked out wide, has 19 receptions for 267 yards and five touchdowns on offense, and 32 tackles, 11 sacks, two pass breakups, and a field goal block on defense.

Helping Alberts's learning curve is a very experienced coaching staff at Forsyth Country Day. In addition to Moroz's background, the staff includes Lewis, who played offensive lineman at Virginia Tech, Don Brown, who played at Wake Forest and coached ten years in the NFL, and Richard Gaud, who played at Florida State.

"The football knowledge on our staff is pretty high," Moroz said. "So we've got [Alberts] coached up as well as we could."

But Alberts has a lot of tools that can't be coached.

"He's just so naturally gifted," Moroz said. "He's 6-8, he's athletic, he fires off real well, [and] he handles coaching real well."

Following the football season, Alberts will play both basketball and baseball for Forsyth Country Day.

(Check back tomorrow for Part II, which details how Alberts became a Tar Heel commitment.)

Tyler Alberts Profile

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