Tyler Byrd brought smiles aplenty to Big Orange Country on Tuesday night, committing to the Tennessee Volunteers.
“It was a very tough decision to make,” Byrd said. “After being to Rocky Top and seeing it and being committed to Miami for a year now, it was a very tough decision.
“To help with family and friends and being in both environments, I’m definitely going to Rocky Top.”
The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder ranks by Scout as the No. 237 player in the 2016 class and the No. 20 cornerback. Byrd joins three-stars Baylen Buchanan of Peachtree Ridge (Ga.) High School and Marquill Osborne of Hough (N.C.) High Schools on the Orange & White pledge sheet at corner.
Byrd gives the Big Orange 18 commitments for the 2016 class. He was committed to Florida for part much of 2013 and 2014 before the firing of Will Muschamp resulted in his decommitment. Byrd moved on to Miami in February 2015, citing how close to his Naples, Florida, home he could play.
Two of the key reasons why Byrd changed his decision from Miami to Tennessee are Carlin Fils-Aime and Larry Scott. The former is a four-star running back prospect committed to the Vols who lives with Byrd and calls him his brother. Scott was in the interim head coach with the Hurricanes before taking a job as Tennessee’s tight ends coach in January.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones, recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie, defensive backs coach Willie Martinez and Scott made their way to the home of Byrd and Fils-Aime in Naples on Jan. 25.
Byrd was part of a star-studded group of official visitors that checked out Tennessee on the Jan. 29-31 weekend. He also picked up offers from the likes of Ole Miss and USC during the recruiting process. The Gators were the first school to offer, pulling the trigger in June 2013. His commitment to Muschamp and then-defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin came less than a week later.
Scout national analyst Chad Simmons on Byrd: “Another guy who can cover and shined on the All-American bowl seen was Tyler Byrd, and he made a move (in the Scout 300 rankings) as well…He is all about speed.”
In the USAAAB, Byrd registered an intercepted a pass and blocked an extra point and popped up off the Alamo Dome artificial turf and returned it 80 yards for a conversion.