Tyden Ferris: Competitive Drive

By George Yarberry
EFN National Director
Published: 05/14/2017

John Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head basketball coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. His philosophy that he lived by, on and off the court, was based on 15 building blocks of his “Pyramid for Success”.

At the top of his pyramid, and his number one block to success is “Competitive Greatness”. His definition for this is, “Be at your best when your best is needed. Enjoyment of a difficult challenge.“

Recruiting high school athletes is not as easy as it may seem. There are tons of talented players that are gifted with the physical ability to play at a high level.

Do they have the drive to win? Do they want to be great? When times are tough and adversity is thrown at them, how will they respond?

John Wooden states in his book, “a hard battle inspires and motivates a great competitor to dig deep inside”.

College coaches need the talent to win but crave a talented player with the competitive drive to be great. These players are out there, and some can be found in hidden places. College coaches that put in the time and effort, and look beyond the powerhouse programs, can find phenomenal talent.

Tyden Ferris from Delton Kellog high school is a recruit that fits that description of what a coach craves, and is from a school most are not familiar with. Delton Kellog is about 30 minutes outside of Kalamazoo, and their enrollment is around 400 students total.

Ferris is a 6’4 235-pound defensive end in the Class of 2018. He earned All-Conference and All-County honors this past season. Tyden committed to Central Michigan University last year after receiving an offer during his sophomore season.

“Tyden is very athletic. It is not every day where you are blessed with an athlete as big as he is and can run the way he can run. He is able to do things that linemen commonly can't do. Because of his physical ability, he can play anywhere on the offensive line and defensive end or put his hand in the dirt inside in a 3 technique. He also is a great long snapper. He is very versatile and willing to do anything his team needs him to do,” said head coach Ryan Bates.

Ferris comes from an athletic family with his older sister currently playing college volleyball and his dad, Rollie, was a 2-time All-MAC football player at Central Michigan in 1996 and 1997. His dad was also a state champion wrestler at Delton Kellog high school.

Tyden has also been one of the state’s best wrestlers over the last two seasons. “I finished 3rd overall in the state this year and last year I finished 2nd in the 215-pound weight class,” said Ferris.

Tyden thinks wrestling has really helped him prepare for football. “Mentality it makes me a stronger person. I am a way tougher man now than I used to be because of wrestling,” said Ferris.

A lot of football players attribute their football achievements to their wrestling background and use it to their advantage when they are on the field. I have never met a college football coach that didn’t like a football player that wrestled in the offseason. Here are a few quotes from a couple of hall of fame coaches on why they like football players that wrestle.

“Wrestlers make coaching football easy, they have balance, coordination, and as a coaching staff we know they’re tough.” - Tom Osborne - College Hall of Fame Football Coach - University of Nebraska

“"You take any athlete at the peak of his conditioning and put him on the wrestling mat with a wrestler and in two minutes he'll be gassed. It’s great preparation both mentally and physically." Coach Barry Switzer (3 NCAA National Championships with Oklahoma, Super Bowl Championship with Dallas, & NCAA Hall of Fame Inductee)

“I love wrestlers, they are tough and they make great football players.” Mike Stoops, National Championship Football Coach - University of Oklahoma.

Tyden has earned the football and wrestling accolades, but the thing that makes Tyden unique is that competitive drive from within.

“Tyden has an incredible work ethic. Along with his work ethic, he is competitive in everything he does whether it is on the field, in the weight room, at a team meal, or a fundraising event. It doesn't matter. All he wants to do is beat you. Everything to him is some kind of competition. He has used that mindset to motivate his teammates by his example. He has grown in his leadership abilities as well as in his physical strength. I have had the privilege of coaching Tyden in multiple sports since his middle school days. He has always had size on his side, but his physical strength and speed have come from a great deal of work on his part,” said Bates.

Bates is expecting big things from Tyden in his senior season, and he will take on a few new responsibilities.

“Tyden can play so many positions and does so many things for us that he rarely comes off the field. He is a key player on our Offense, Defense, and our Special Teams. We have had the luxury of having Tyden for three years. It will take multiple players to replace what he alone does for our program. As a player on the field, his roles will continue to be flexible because he can play so many different places for us. He has continued to grow over the years as a leader, but I anticipate Tyden to take the challenge and run with it leading our team to great things. Tyden is a young man with great character. You can count on him to do the right things on and off the field,” said Bates.

Tyden has been active on the offseason football camp circuit for the last two years. He has proven that a kid from a small school can compete against any of the top offensive linemen in the state and Midwest. In February, he earned 1st Team honors at the Elite Big Man Camp as a defensive end. He beat some great prospects that have multiple Division 1 offers in 1-on-1 pass rush competitions.

Tyden will be a great addition to the 2018 recruiting class for Central Michigan. “I like the atmosphere, and all the coaches and I think I fit in well there,” said Ferris.

Bates thinks he will have a great career in Mount Pleasant. “Tyden will outwork his teammates wherever he ends up. He will be successful in whatever he does because that is who he is. If you beat Tyden in something, you better savor it because he will work himself to the point where you won't have the opportunity to beat him again. With this mindset, he will be a success wherever he lands. I believe he will be a huge asset to the CMU program because he has the potential to play many roles for the Chips wherever he is needed, as he has done for us,” said Bates.

Tyden is also an excellent student in the classroom, with a 3.8 overall GPA. He plans to major in business or sport management when he gets to college.

Whether the tough battle you face is on the football field, or wrestling mat, or in the classroom, if I am a college coach I want Tyden Ferris in my corner, because I know he is going to dig deep inside and be at his best when his best is needed.