Sunday, February 7, 2010

Byler relishes opportunities, will play at BGSU

When Elyria senior Isaiah Byler put pen to paper on Wednesday, it completed a journey that a few years ago seemed unlikely. But several acts of kindness gave Byler an opportunity and he took full advantage by working hard and staying committed. The result was a Division I football scholarship to Bowling Green State University.

Two years ago the six-foot-five Byler weighed 330 pounds. His head coach Steve Hamilton told him for a D-I school to take him seriously as a prospect, he needed to slim down and increase his mobility.

A process that is easier said that done. Byler needed help. A chain of events unfolded that changed Byler’s life.

His youth pastor Josh Kirskey committed to pay for the first six weeks of Byler’s training with former NFL player LaCharles Bentley and Bentley agreed to cover the rest if Byler showed promise.

"It was a blessing," Byler said of Kirskey’s kind offer. "I wouldn’t have been able to pay for LeCharles’ camp. It was $1,000 for six weeks. He said that someone blessed him when he was young and he was paying it back."

Working with Bentley evolved Byler’s body and his game.

"No doubt. I still work four to five days with LeCharles," Byler said. "It has been a big blessing. It is unbelievable how much he has helped me. He gave me that diet that helped me lose 60-70 pounds. Now the weight is lost, he has me on another diet to convert fat to muscle. He helped me get a D-I scholarship and be All-Ohio."

Byler committed to Bowling Green in July and his signing yesterday made it official.

"I am excited to start a new chapter in my life," Byler said. "High school is almost over and I’m excited to play college ball."

Byler first met the Bowling Green coaches at Ohio State’s football camp. He made an unofficial visit and then an official one and he was hooked.

"I visited there and it was just a wonderful place," Byler said. "It is a very beautiful campus. There is a lot of history there as it is over 100 years old. It has some of the best programs in the country."

Byler was also impressed with the football program. Last season first year head coach Dave Clawson, previously Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, guided the Falcons to the Humitarian Bowl and a 7-6 record.

"The football facility is the best in the (Mid-American Conference)," Byler said. "I really like the new coaching staff. Coach Clawson is a great guy. I really like his personality. I grew up partly in the south in Tennessee so I relate to him. The football program is really on the rise with being in the Humanitarian Bowl. It is a pretty strong team. All of these are reasons I chose Bowling Green."

Byler credits all those who helped him earn this opportunity to play D-I football.

"It was a big circle of people helping me," Byler said. "Coach Hamilton for giving me time to work with LeCharles, Pastor Josh Kirskey paying for the camp, my parents helping out with gas money to get there and LeCharles working with me. Without them I would not be getting a D-I scholarship."

Courtesy of Zachary Dzurick

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home