When it came down to it family prevailed over a year-long commitment.
Naples senior cornerback and four-star recruit Tyler Byrd, who was verbally committed to the University of Miami for the last year, announced he would be attending the University of Tennessee along with Golden Eagles teammate Carlin Fils-aime via Periscope on Tuesday, the night before National Signing Day.
“Two brothers back at it,” Fils-aime yelled after Byrd’s announcement. While not blood related, the two currently live together.
Byrd, who visited Knoxville last weekend, will sign with the Vols alongside Fils-aime, whose been committed to the school since the summer, at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in a ceremony at Naples High.
“It was a tough decision to make after seeing Rocky Top and being down in Miami, being committed for a whole year,” Byrd said. “At the end of the day, the best choice I could make with the help of family and friends was going to Rocky Top.”
Byrd, a first-team all-state selection, was seen as recently as Jan. 9 flashing the U hand signal during a standout performance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Byrd intercepted a pass and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the game, clearly showing he was ready for the next level.
Before Signing Day last year, Byrd flipped his commitment from the University of Florida to Miami after some uncertainty with then-new coach Jim McElwain. Over the last year, Byrd has expressed a firm commitment to the Hurricanes.
Al Golden was fired at Miami in October and was replaced by former Georgia coach Mark Richt. Tight ends coach Larry Scott, who recruited Byrd and served as Miami’s interim coach after Golden’s ouster, had an offer to remain on staff but took a job at Tennessee.
“I think he had nothing but great options,” Naples coach Bill Kramer said. “What’s important is Tyler will be given a chance to excel academically and athletically. It isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish.”