Dresden’s McPeak making short trip
Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Size — and skill — matter.
Tyler McPeak has the size and the skill, and now he has a college scholarship.
The 6-4, 225-pound Dresden senior was a part of National Signing Day on Wednesday by putting his name on a letter of intent to play college football just down the road at UT Martin.
“UTM is getting a very talented and coachable player,” said Dresden head coach Keith Hodge, who was elevated from offensive coordinator following the resignation of long-time and successful skipper Scott Hewett. “I know there was a part of him that wanted to move on and go somewhere else, but he’s glad to be at UTM.”
McPeak’s size and skill level brought several schools to his doorstep, and when some of those programs filled their recruiting cards with other players, UTM was waiting with papers in hand.
Recruited mainly by offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mac Bryan, McPeak developed a bond with the staff and an appreciation for what the program has become in recent years.
“Since coach Simpson came in, they’ve been winning more,” McPeak said. “We’re definitely going to win. Being there, I will have chance at an FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA) national championship.”
Simpson is currently 37-31 in six years at UTM, winning the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2006. The Skyhawks were 5-6 in 2011, five of those six losses coming by a total of just 19 points.
Getting to know McPeak as a person and a player sold the UTM coaches on his potential.
“We knew about Tyler, and then getting him in our 7-on-7 camp was huge for us,” Simpson said. “We love his size and demeanor. We’ve had a chance to watch him play in our stadium and, being close, he came to a lot of our games. So, we really got a chance to spend a lot of time with him.”
Simpson found out quickly that McPeak could play at the next level. He showed fine skills as a receiver in the 7-on-7 camp prior to his junior season and then capped an outstanding high school career this past season by helping the Lions reach the TSSAA BlueCross Bowl Class 2A state championship game.
Following up a junior campaign where he had 135 tackles and 235 receiving yards. McPeak posted 118 tackles from his linebacker spot and had 27 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns at tight end.
Projected as a tight end in college, Simpson is not so quick to make that call.
“We’ll wait until he gets here,” the UTM head man said. “We know he has soft hands and great size at tight end, but we’re not giving up on him for defense because of his size and aggressiveness. It’s a plus when you can bring in those defensive end/tight end guys with the size he has.”
For his part, McPeak just wants to play.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” McPeak said. “Offensively, I love to get into the end zone and make plays, but on defense, there’s nothing like hitting somebody.
“Coming from a small school, you don’t get many opportunities, so you try as hard as you can when you do get a chance.”
The Skyhawks are not only getting a player, according to Hodge. UTM is getting a leader, too.
“This is a kid who started all four years, going from 0-10 as a freshman to the state championship game as a senior,” Hodge said. “His teammates looked up to him, and not just because he can play. He led by example, getting kids into the weight room, things like that.
“He’s meant a whole lot to our program. He made a huge difference on both sides of the ball and as a long snapper, a skill of his that often gets overlooked.”
It will certainly hard for anyone to overlook this particular member of UTM’s 2012 recruiting class. Published in The WCP 2.2.12