Columbia (S.C.) Hammond School class of 2025 tight end Mike Tyler landed his first scholarship offer last May and has seen his offer list continue to grow in the months since with hometown South Carolina offering in December after a big junior season.
“It was huge,” Tyler said of the offer. “Like, the amount of fans, the amount of support I have at this school and then let alone the community, it was real nice.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Tyler and his family made the short trip across town this past weekend when they were provided an in-depth look at the Gamecocks’ program.
“I loved everything,” Tyler said. “Like when I first got there, Coach (Shane) Beamer came and met me at the door, with his assistants. And that was the first time that ever happened to me. So it’s nice to know I feel special to them and they felt special to me. And building a relationship with Coach (Justin) Stepp, it was nice.”
Tyler’s recruitment has become a bit of a family affair for a couple of college coaches.
Justin Stepp, who recently moved from the receivers room to tight ends coach at South Carolina, is recruiting Tyler for the Gamecocks, while twin brother and Cincinnati tight ends coach Josh Stepp was responsible for the first offer Tyler received back in May.
“He’s an amazing guy,” Tyler said when asked about Justin. “He’s just like his brother. I can’t tell them apart. And it’s nice that he’s coming over from receivers because he can teach me quick-twitch moves and stuff like that. So it’s good.”
Tyler, who collected 33 receptions for 543 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior this past season, said the Gamecocks went over how he’ll be used if he stays in Columbia.
“They like how I’m a hybrid guy,” Tyler said. “I can space the field and not just be a hand-in-the-dirt tight end. I can go catch, block, edge, get match-ups, all of the above.”
Tyler, who also recently visited North Carolina and Virginia Tech, said he’ll take more trips this spring with South Carolina, UCF, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Duke receiving visits. He adds that Wake Forest is also showing a lot of attention.
“I’m big on relationships,” he says. “Like, I have to have a very good relationship with my position coach. Of course, the head coach, because the position coach, I’m spending all of my hours with him, he’s teaching me everything. And I’ve got to look at, would I go to the school without football and the environment and the community.”
Tyler says his goal is to be committed before his senior year but his recruitment could extend beyond that.