It is incongruous for a 6'7" 300-pound offensive tackle with 11 total and five Pac-10 offers to have so little written about him, but such is the case when you play for a small school much better known for its National Merit Scholars than producing SuperPrep All-Americans. Tyler Mabry may be obscure, hailing from tiny Francis Parker School in San Diego (Calif.) where a total of 458 students span grades 9 thru 12, but that did not stop him from picking up loads of scholarship offers this spring and summer. His 11th grant was given by Stanford on Wednesday, and Mabry reports that he committed 10 minutes after he left Walt Harris' office.
Some trust the value of this Cardinal commitment based solely on his competing scholarship offers, with half of the Pac-10 sold on his prospects. However, that article of faith does not provide color as to the ability and characteristics of this towering tackle. To help fill in the gaps, we have spoken with Parker head coach John Morrison about his two-way lineman.
"Tyler is a great kid - really a dynamite kid," Morrison begins. "He's a heck of a leader, even though he's only played three years of organized football. When he came to us, he had never put pads on in his life."
"His learning curve is going to be tremendous," the coach continues. "He's so smart and he has really committed himself. He has worked hard in the weight room, which is where he has needed the most work. Tyler would be the first one to tell you that he needs to get stronger. I would not be surprised if he redshirts his first year at Stanford for that reason."
A high school offensive lineman tipping the scales at 299 pounds at the end of his junior year of high school paints a picture of a sloppy young kid. We have seen that too often, as young road graders race too fast to add weight at any cost and with no conscience toward strength and fitness. Mabry's coach says, however, that his tackle has a huge frame and has no tire around his waist.
"Tyler has an NFL body," Morrison remarks. "You look at him and cannot believe that he weighs 300 pounds. Most young kids that weight have a belly, but Tyler doesn't have a hint of that at all. He could easily add another 30 or 40 pounds and still look great."
The next question asked about a big man is how well he moves.
"He has great feet. He is about as close as you can find to the prototypical left tackle," Morrison opines. "A lot of that has to do with his development when he was younger. Tyler couldn't play football in Pop Warner because he was too big, so he played soccer. You can see that with his feet... He doesn't have any problem blocking in space. He does explode and he has quick feet - that's definitely an asset for him."
"I'm going to move him from right tackle to left tackle for us this year because I need him to protect our quarterback," he adds. "We run the ball about 65% of the time and throw it 35% of the time, but I think Tyler can run and pass block both well right now."
"Another thing is that we are such a small school - only about 450 kids - that everybody really has to play both ways," Morrison notes. "Tyler has started for us at defensive tackle, too. Coaches have almost all wanted to watch his defensive film first because you can see his athleticism more there. I think playing both ways has helped him physically and mentally, too. But watch out when he works on just offensive line at Stanford, when he can use all his practice time to focus on just one position."
For now, there is still plenty to be learned about the game and many gains to be made in the weight room for this green giant of a tackle.
"The biggest area for him is strength," Morrison maintains. "He's not where he needs to be, and he's the first one to tell you that. But Tyler has come a long ways. He found a tremendous work ethic in the last 12 to 18 months. I'm telling you, he has a tremendous future and a great learning curve ahead of him."
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