|School:||Hudsonville, Mi. (Hudsonville HS)|
If things were simple for a fan following recruiting it would not be very much fun. After the February signing date (though sometimes long before), recruitniks scour all-state team listings, message boards, and newspaper articles in search of the next season's gems. Once you think you have a handle on the big names your team is going after, a name pops up out of left field and totally surprises everyone. We call this prospect a "sleeper".
Well folks, meet Hudsonville, Michigan's resident "sleeper" Tyson DeVree (pronounced Deh-Vray).
A 6'6'', 220 pound wide receiver, First Team All-State selection Tyson DeVree has been a target of the Nittany Lions since summer camp.
According to his Coach, Dave Duram, "Tyson was just shopping around, trying to find out what schools might be interested in him. Penn State runs a very good camp for receivers and they have some very good skill people there. And he heard it was a good camp. They were pretty impressed with him at camp.
"Tyson is an excellent receiver and runs great routes. He's very quick, very agile and a great leaper. He's also a good solid blocker, good open-field blocker.
"He's pretty fast, but his best attributes are how sharp his routes are and his ability to go up after the ball."
The Nittany Lions are not the only division one program interested in Tyson, though they are the only school considered a football giant. Coach Duram said Penn State, Western Michigan, Toledo, Central Michigan (although Tyson has no interest in them), Bowling Green, and Purdue (a little bit) have been in contact with Tyson. At this point though, he has only received one offer.
"Western has made a definite offer and he's waiting on the others."
This season the 8-4 Hudsonville HS team advanced to the third round of the playoffs before bowing out. From his wide receiver position this season, Tyson caught a team leading 53 balls for 828 yards and 5 touchdowns. When Tyson enters college however, he will not be a wide receiver or a linebacker, but a tight end according to both his coach and the college recruiters looking at him.
"He's got a big frame and a lot schools think they can put weight on him and bulk him up. They're looking to bulk him up and play him at tight end."
Coach Duram feels the Nittany Lions are serious about his star player.
"They've been dealing with him off and on, all summer and all fall. He's met right with Joe Paterno and with his assistants. The impression I get is they are dabbling between him and maybe one other individual. I anticipate within the next week or so there should be a definite yes or no."
According to Tyson, he has been to Happy Valley for unofficial visits on three separate occasions. Along with summer camp, he traveled back Penn State for Junior Day in July and for one of the early season home games.
"I went to the Nebraska game. They [Penn State] blew them out. It was fun to go to. There was like a 107,000, it was amazing."
Linebacker coach and Michigan native, Ron Vanderlinden, has kept Penn State in close contact with Tyson since September.
"They call me every week. They say I'm their number one prospect at tightend. But they're still deciding whether to take me because they're concerned about whether I can put on weight. They don't know if they can take the risk that I can't put on weight."
"They like my speed for tight end and I can catch the ball well. But they want to put weight on me so I can block for them too. They [Penn State] want me to put on about 35 more pounds."
If genetics has anything to do with Tyson being able to add weight he should be just fine. His older brother, Todd DeVree , graduated high school weighing just about 200 pounds to go with his 6'4" height. Now however, the Grand Valley State Unversity (Division II school in Allendale, Michigan) offensive lineman weighs in at 255 pounds.
Penn State coaches have stressed to Tyson that he has all the tools to be a solid tight end, but the blocking remains the one aspect of his game that they may not be sold on.
"They want me to work on my blocking. I was at tight end about 10 percent of the time [this season]. Other than that I was at wide receiver so its open field blocking, which is totally different."
Currently has two official visits set up with a third pending. On December 6th, Tyson will be visiting Western Michigan while on December 13th he heads down to Toledo. Bowling Green will get the third definite visit, but that date has not been set yet.
Tyson, however, has a clear leader.
"Penn State would be my number one choice."
The Nittany Lions have told Tyson they will let him know their plans by Christmas, giving him plenty of time to either set up an official visit with Penn State or concentrate on the other schools on his list.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the recruiting process, one thing for Tyson has become certain--he's a sleeper no longer.
(Interviews by Steve Curry)