I’ve been in Memphis for a while.
Since 2016 to be exact.
During that time, I’ve grown so much as a player and a person. I’ve gone from a young teenage wide receiver to an adult tight end. Now, as a super senior, I’m so excited about finishing up my final year as a Tiger and reaching for the stars with my teammates.
Thank you, Dad
I wouldn’t be the person I am today, the man I am today, if it wasn’t for my Dad. He guided me every step of the way, not just in football, but in life. He always supported me and gave me the advice I needed to hear.
I’ve been playing contact football since I was eight years old, and I pretty much took it seriously from the start. Playing every weekend, watching tape, working on my technique — that’s all thanks to my Dad being there with me every step of the way, making sure my goals were matching my actions.
A lot of people don’t know this, but I was a pretty good basketball player, too. I was a two-sport athlete in high school and was conflicted about which sport I should focus on more. My father helped guide me and told me that my body and personality were better suited for the football field.
It was a tough decision, but once I made it, there was no looking back. I stopped playing AAU and focused one hundred percent on football.
Today, I can easily say it was the best decision I ever made, man.
And it’s all thanks to my Dad.
Once it was time to pick a school for my college career, choosing Memphis was easy.
But excelling in Memphis was hard.
I came in as a wide receiver and was quickly transitioned into the tight end position.
Suddenly, I’m lining up and had to block guys twice my size!
I didn’t come here to do that, you know?!
I had to adjust and grow. Fast. I went from a star football player to a bottom-of-the-depth-chart freshman.
It was hard and humbling, to be honest.
At the time, the concept of blocking was new to me. I never had to do it before. So, it took a massive amount of work to get in the groove of things.
Today, I’m glad I listened to our coaching staff — after all, they know what they’re talking about. I simply had to trust them.
Besides, at the end of the day, I was determined to do whatever Memphis needed me to do.
That’s what football is all about, you know? Everyone sacrifices a part of themselves for the betterment of the team. Everyone contributes so we can do something greater together than what we could do alone.
When I was a freshman, for example, I remember our game against Navy quite vividly. We lost the game, which was disappointing, but I got a chance to start, made a few big catches, and blocked decently, too. That was such an instrumental moment for me as it felt like I finally belonged. It gave me a lot of confidence which helped us in the long run.
It’s all about the process and journey.
And in 2019, this process led us to a conference championship.
And I hope we can repeat that accomplishment this year.
Hunger for more
Speaking of accomplishments, the other day, I found out I’m the all-time leading receiving TE in Memphis history. It’s a great honor, no doubt.
But here is the thing. To me, accomplishments or awards are simply steps.
Steps towards a bigger goal. A bigger dream.
I’m proud of taking those steps, don’t get me wrong, but there is more I’m shooting for, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
But for now, all my focus is on this season and battling for another conference title.
And honestly, that’s why I came back to Memphis for year five. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth. The world wasn’t in a good place, and everything kind of snowballed from there.
The season was okay, but I didn’t feel like we maxed out our potential.
After talking with my coaches, we devised a game plan for my senior year to get the most out of my time left in Memphis, and I decided it’d be best if I came back and finished things the way I wanted to.
So far, we are off to a good start.
But we have room to improve. We have a nice mix of young and old players, and I’m excited to see where this season takes us.
Without doubt, however, the best is yet to come!