Ohio's Future Stars' Hidden Gems series continues today with a look at Andrew Tyson, a linebacker/tight end who plays for the North Ridgeville Rangers. North Ridgeville is a town located in the talent-rich part of the state that is Northeast Ohio, but the Rangers often find the odds stacked against them during their football games. Despite that, Andrew Tyson has made himself a player to keep an eye on.
The Rangers play in the Pioneer Conference, which is one of the stronger conferences in the Cleveland area. You may recognize the names -- Strongsville, Berea, Midpark, Brunswick, Medina -- as they are schools that are known in the Cleveland area as ones that have won their share of football games in the past. North Ridgeville is the only Division II school in that conference, and during Coach Weisner's time at the school (1999-2001), they have only been Division II by no more than 15 boys. The other schools in the conference are all Division I and field an average of 85 varsity players as opposed to an average of 35 varsity players for North Ridgeville. As a result, North Ridgeville has struggled recently, only winning 10 total games over the past three years. "The deck's stacked against us," said Coach Jeff Weisner.
However, that hasn't stopped Andrew Tyson from emerging as one of the top players in his area.
Andrew is 6-3, 228 pounds and is still growing. "I am a big player with size and strength and I can react quickly," Andrew said.
Many people may not realize Andrew is that big though as Coach Weisner said he played last season at 6-1, 205 pounds. The size runs in the family though as Andrew's father played football at Ohio University and is a big man at 6-6 and 280 pounds. The good news is that Andrew may continue to follow suit as Coach Weisner said, "As much time as Andrew spends in the weight room, I will not be surprised if he gets as large as his father."
In addition to size, Andrew proved last season that he possesses a great deal of toughness. "Most athletes get bumps and bruises playing in the game," Coach Weisner said. "Going into (the 2001 season), Andrew was diagnosed with a hernia. As you might expect, he was petrified that he may miss some or all of the season. After seeing two specialists, it was determined that the hernia was probably cased due to his growth spurts and could not get any worse if the operation was postponed until after the season. Andrew played the entire season with the hernia. Immediately after football, Andrew had the hernia repaired, missing a mere three weeks of the basketball season."
The hernia didn't stop Andrew from having a big season. He led the team in tackles (115), had 2 sacks and 13 TFL and was one of six players who never came off the field. Andrew also helped out by moving from TE (where he had nine receptions for 124 yards and 4 TD) to the offensive line (graded at 90% over five games) to compensate for the lack of linemen.
Both Andrew and Coach Weisner said that Andrew's overall speed and lateral movement are the areas of his game he needs to work on, but if he continues to improve in those areas, Coach Weisner feels that Andrew could play for any of the MAC schools or even a Big Ten school. The size and strength are already there, and as Coach Weisner put it, "(Andrew) already hits like a Mack truck."
Andrew is being recruited by most of the MAC schools (Coach Weisner said that Ohio, Kent State, Akron, Bowling Green, and Central Michigan have shown the most interest, while Buffallo, Western Michigan, and Eastern Michigan have also inquired) and Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Lehigh, Ohio State, West Virginia, and Missouri have shown a bit of interest as well. Some of those schools have made Andrew's top five as he says that Bowling Green currently leads over Ohio, Kent State, Akron, and Eastern Michigan. Andrew lists a winning team and a scholarship offer as his two most important factors in choosing a school, and he feels Bowling Green has shown to be a good place to win. "The thing I like about BG," Andrew said, "is the fact that they had a winning season last year and how they all swarm to the ball on defense."
Andrew comes from a great family and is a model citizen off the field. He has maintained marks over 3.0 in his college prep curriculum and aims to get a 3.5 this coming year. "Andrew's personality, drive, coachability, and commitment make him a great student-athlete," Coach Weisner said. "If I had a teenage daughter, I would not hesitate in permitting Andrew to date her."
Andrew will be out at camps all summer (he wants to make as many MAC camps as possible and will be at Bowling Green's overnight camp) and will continue to work hard to try and earn a scholarship offer. Coach Weisner definitely recommends to all the schools out there that they give Andrew a look. "Andrew WILL be an asset to the coach, team, and institution he attends," Coach Weisner said. "If I were fortunate to be a collegiate level head coach, Andrew would make our team better as a player and our team better as a person."
Right now, we have Andrew as one of Ohio's "Hidden Gems," but if he keeps up the hard work, he won't be hidden much longer!