Rising sophomore walk on wide receiver Tyler Snead has already left his mark on the East Carolina University football program, though only playing in four games during the fall 2018 season.
Snead is a walk on from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina where he had more than 1,000 receiving yards, but no offers from any Division 1 athletic programs. Snead netted a total of 2,491 yards, including rushing, receiving and kickoff returns during his high school career.
Despite not getting an offer from ECU, he worked hard to gain stellar grades that would allow him to get in, regardless if he got the opportunity to play football.
“I was slacking off and my mom was getting on me about my grades,” Snead said. “She was always on my grades, constantly, so it kind of just became a habit.”
Luckily, he managed to not only get into the Honors College at ECU, but was also offered a preferred walk on spot on the football team shortly after. Former ECU assistant coach of wide receivers, Keith Gaither came to Millbrook and asked if Snead had heard from any schools.
“I told him I was planning on going up there (to visit a Division II college) on Friday, and so he put it up on a whiteboard and he just kinda wrote, here’s what you’re gonna get if you go here, and here’s what you’re gonna get if you go there,” Snead said.
That presentation was enough for Snead to throw out all of his offers to play Division II football and to fully commit to ECU. Although it was a walk on position, it was a position to a bigger school and a building program.
“That’s what brought me here. I didn’t even visit that school. I called the coach up that night and told him I was going to ECU,” Snead said.
In his second start for the Pirates, Snead had five catches for 124 yards against Tulane University on Nov. 10 and three touchdowns in the following game against the University of Connecticut on Nov. 17. These statistics alone made Snead into one of the most productive wide receivers on the team.
He only followed up Trevon Brown, a wide receiver who graduated in the spring of 2018, in receptions and touchdowns for wide receivers during the 2017-2018 season.
“That was crazy. Like obviously when I’m in the game I’m not thinking about it like it’s just ‘game time’, but after, I was like ‘woah’ (laughs). I saw my family after the game and they were happy for me and that when it kinda hit me,” Snead said.
With new head coach Mike Houston coming in for the 2019 season, the Pirates got a new coaching staff and a desire to start a winning culture among players and fans. Houston has taken a different approach to the player than previous head coach, Scottie Montgomery.
“You can tell he knows what he’s doing and he’s really good about it,” Snead said. “He’ll tell you if you have a bad day, he won’t sugar coat. If you had a bad day, you know he’s gonna tell you, and that’s gonna make you wanna execute better the next day. He’s only taking us steps forward.”
The team will begin its season on Aug. 31 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to take on in-state rival North Carolina State University.
Snead is excited to be able to get more playing time, and continue to be an important benefactor for the Pirates these next four years. With such a promising start to his collegiate career he continues show that hard work and dedication pay off.
“I think we’re gonna be really good this year,” Snead said. “The team looks really strong, we got a lot of key players and everybody is together. Everybody has the same goals like the ‘we’ goal and not the ‘me’ goal. Everybody’s putting the team in front of themselves and their own goals so I think that what’s pushing us so hard and bringing us together.”