New York Giants tight end Will Tye is only 25 years old, but the second year player is one of the most traveled guys in the National Football League. The Connecticut native played at two high schools in Connecticut and two colleges in Florida State and Stony Brook. Tye had over 1000 yards receiving in his college career, yet still went undrafted out of college in 2015.
Here, Tye discusses his journey to the NFL, playing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston at Florida State, competing everyday with Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and the reasons why he’ll be in the league for many years to come.
Who was most influential person in getting your football career on the right track?
Will Tye: My head coach at Xavier High School Sean Marinan. He always believed in me and helped me fall in love with the game of football. I was playing on both sides of the football back then and he worked with me individually to understand what I needed to do. He taught me to play every play like it was my last.
You started your collegiate career at Florida State. What do you remember the most about your time as a Seminole?
WT: It was a great experience and Jimbo Fisher is a really good coach. I got to play with Jameis Winston and he was always a great player. I can remember him taking over when he was playing on the scout team. He had leadership qualities as soon as he stepped on campus.
You transferred from FSU to Stony Brook. What was the most difficult part of that transition?
WT: The size of the program. Going from FSU to Stony Brook was like going from night to day. I had to adjust to living in a dorm, learning from new coaches and competing with new teammates. Everything was different and I had to get used to that.
You went undrafted out of Stony Brook. The New York Giants finally signed you a few weeks later. How would you describe that time in your life?
WT: The hardest part was seeing guys I’ve been playing with and against for a while at the NFL combine or in the draft. I always focused on being prepared. It meant everything to finally get that call from an NFL team. I had been dreaming my whole life for that moment. But I quickly had to shift focus to how I was going to make myself better and ensure that I was going to stick around in the league.
This is your second season in the NFL. What is the key to becoming a consistent player in the league for many years to come?
WT: I need to keep playing hard. I worked really hard this offseason to become a better blocker. I can see the improvement, but I know I have to still get better. I’ve become a better receiver this year, but there is still more I can do with route running and my catching ability.
Your quarterback Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl champ and one of the best passers in the league. How have you earned his trust as a reliable pass catcher?
WT: It feels great to have his trust. It’s been important for me to build a relationship with him not only on the field, but off the field too. If I see Eli in the cafeteria, I want to be able to talk to him about things besides football and have a real conversation.
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best wide receivers in football. What in your mind makes him such a special player?
WT: It’s been really good to play with Odell. He always pushes everybody. You always get the best out of him and that motivates me to be better and go harder. Off the field he is a great guy. He’s definitely someone you want to hang out with and have a laugh with.
Finally, many players in the past year have used their platform to make a difference in society. What have you done to contribute to the world outside of the football field?
WT: I’ve actually gone back to Stony Brook a few times and talked to the guys on the team. I’m the first player from the school to make it to the league and I want to show guys that they can make it too. It was a really proud moment for me to able to share my story.
DJ Sixsmith is a play-by-play announcer and writer who has worked for ESPN, Fox Sports and Complex Sports. Follow DJ on Twitter @DJ_Sixsmith.