Deangelo Tyson may be the most talented player to suit up for the Statesboro Blue Devils. And that's saying a lot. Tyson falls in line with Jeremy Mincey (now with the Jaguars), Josh Thompson (Auburn), Alex Dekle (Jones County J. C.), and Justin Houston (Georgia). Tyson is listed by rivals.com as the 13th best player in the country.
Like Houston, Tyson has given a verbal commitment to play football at Georgia. "My teammates (Houston and John Knox) were going up there and we've been playing football together since middle school. I really like it up there and I think it would be a good place for me to go."
He's a strong defensive tackle with good speed for a 300-punder. But, his biggest asset may be his ability to get by the offensive linemen. "He really plays great leverage and he utilizes that with great technique," said Statesboro Coach Steve Pennington. "He uses his hands well, his arms and his lower body, therefore it would take someone very special to be able to block him."
Tyson's talents are obvious and opposing teams spend a lot of time and personnel trying to keep him out of their backfield. "Because of his size, his strength and his fundamentals, it really helps us out because it usually occupies two or three offensive people to block him," says Pennington. "Which in turn, he may not get all of the credit he deserves, but due to the lack of being selfish, it helps our team to function a lot better because now the linebackers get to make more plays."
Tyson learned from the players who came before he did in Statesboro and now it‘s his time to pass along his experiences. "I always looked up to John (Knox) and Justin (Houston) just because they were older," says Tyson. "Now I guess it's my turn to be a leader, I have to do the same things they did. My biggest job, for me, to be a leader on our defense and try to get everybody involved."
Tyson is learning to handle this kind of attention for the good of the team. "It was a tough and demanding learning process, especially during his junior year, because his name was not being called over the loudspeaker as much as maybe he wanted it to be," said Pennington. "But, at the same time, it was making our defense effective. Hopefully he has matured and understands that's the concept of team and if he has to sacrifice himself for the betterment of the team, that's s going to make us that much stronger and I think he's ready to take on that challenge."
Tyson missed two games last season with a knee injury suffered in the second game of the season. But, he recovered fully and was able to come back at mid-season. "During the Glynn Academy game, I tore my LCL," said Tyson. "I was out a couple of game and came back. It wasn't torn badly, it just slightly torn and it could heal on its own."
The toughest part of the injury was sitting on the sidelines and watching his teammates play. "It was. Actually I started crying because I wanted to be out there and I was crying because I was hurt. I just wanted to be out there and play with the team."
Look for Tyson to make up for that lost time this season and Region 3-AAAA foes better be ready to handle the pressure he can put on their offense. Tyson has always had the capacity to make the big plays. Coach Pennington puts it this way, "I think he does that because people underestimate how quick getting from point A to point B, which is 3 to 4 yards, how quick he is to accelerate in that short a distance. We expect him to be in the backfield of our opponents quite a bit. We are expecting big things from him."
And the fans can expect more big things from the Blue Devils as they continue their run of playoff appearances.