Meet Your Monarchs: Tyler Compton Feature Story
Offensive lineman Tyler Compton chose Old Dominion University because he could not imagine life without football.
With two other options that Compton could have picked for his future after high school, he knew that he wanted to continue his football career, which led him to decide to walk on to the ODU football team. ODU was the best option for him academically and athletically.
“I knew from the get go in high school that football was going to be a part of my life at college. So I logically went down my path of recruiting and I came to a point where I had three options,” Compton said. “I could take a scholarship offer at William and Mary, an academic scholarship at Campbell or walk-on at ODU. Me and my mom mapped things out, we looked at the pros and cons of every opportunity and when it came out ODU was the big winner.”
Compton redshirted as a true freshman in 2012 and saw action in six games last season, seeing increased playing time after starting center Josh Mann suffered an injury in the win at Idaho.
The Virginia Beach native saw an increase in playing time at both guard and center the last two weeks of the season.
“It was fantastic. I’ve enjoyed being versatile here because every time injuries have popped up I’ve found a way to get some playing time,” Compton said. “When Josh went down everyone was concerned but it was great for me to get some extra reps, that was very valuable to me.”
With Mann out heading into spring practice, the redshirt sophomore began spring practice as the starting center.
“Having the whole spring as starting center was fantastic,” Compton added. “Every rep I got was so critical I feel like I’ve made big jumps because of it.
Compton’s spring was moving along smoothly until midway through he broke his hand in a simple offensive line drill. The injury knocked him out of practice for a few days and put his solid spring in jeopardy.
“It was very frustrating because it was a major setback, I thought I was playing great in the spring and I was immediately worried thinking can I keep playing at this high level,” Compton said. “It was a big mental stress for a while, much more mental than physical just because it was constantly on my mind, and then when I cam back there was swelling that caused pain so there was a lot to it but once I got over the initial frustration I just learned to embrace it.”
Compton came to ODU as a center, and prior to the injury he had played both right and left guard as well as center, however, when he returned from the injury he had to deal with another obstacle; a move to left tackle.
“It was probably one of the biggest challenges since I’ve been here,” he noted. I grew comfortable at center, playing there a lot in practice and games. I felt great at center and then I broke my hand and moved to left tackle, which is one of the hardest positions on the field. Not only did I have to learn new techniques, I had to play with a club on my left hand. It was a huge challenge but Coach Dee and Coach Scott really worked with me through it all and I embrace all the coaching I could.”
Offensive line coach Bill Dee was the one person that guided Compton through out the transition and injury process. The hardest part of switching from center to guard was losing the control of the ball that center had.
“Learning to be a tackle, I’m still getting used to not looking at the snap,” he said. Adjusting to the speed and space of the line and ball took some time to get used too according to Compton.
With the 2014 season right around the corner and Mann ready to return, Compton will not be starting, but with injuries happening everyday he will be ready to play any position on the offense of line.
I just want to contribute as much as I can wherever I can. I’m trying to be great at every position on the offensive line,” Compton said. “I’m trying to put myself in a position to be the first one in the game when someone gets hurt. I’d rather end up great, than striving to be good.”