Ever since Paul Tyson was a toddler, the game of football has been in his DNA.
Coming from a historic football family, his great-grandfather is College Football Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant who has the third-most wins as a coach in NCAA history, Tyson not only wanted to play the game but was expected to.
"The game of football means the world to me," Tyson said. "It started back from right when I was a kid when my dad put a football in my crib. My entire life I have been surrounded by football, watching on TV and always wanting to be a football player growing up."
In high school, Tyson's football career started to take off at Hewitt-Trussville High School in Alabama. He threw for 6,585 yards, 69 passing touchdowns and 274.4 passing yards per game.
Tyson was named No. 295 player on the ESPN 300 and was the No. 13 high school football prospect in Alabama, according to ESPN. After fielding 17 Division I offers, Tyson decided to follow in his great-grandfather's footsteps and commit to The University of Alabama.
Despite being in home territory and in the house his lineage built, Tyson was never able to take the starting job. In his three years with the Crimson Tide, Tyson redshirted at the end of his freshman year and sat under a loaded quarterback room in his second season which included New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and most recent Heisman winner Bryce Young.
"At the University of Alabama I wouldn't change a thing staying there for three years and I really felt like I had a great experience," Tyson said. "They have really taught me to where I am today."
In search of a bigger role, Tyson hit the transfer portal after the 2021 season and pinpointed ASU as the school to finish his college career.
"I felt like it was a great opportunity for me, with coach Herm (Edwards) and what he is doing here and how all the players are brought into his process," Tyson said. "I just thought it was a great fit."
After 2021, starting quarterback Jayden Daniels decided to transfer to Louisiana State University just weeks before the start of spring ball, leaving the starting quarterback position for the Sun Devils up for grabs.
"We are trying to push each other to be the best quarterbacks we can be and obviously we all want to win," said Trenton Bourguet, redshirt junior and backup quarterback for the 2020 season. "At this position, there is only one guy on the field so we are just trying to push each other and make each other better. At the end of the day, the best guy will play."
Outside of the competition, Tyson has become accustomed to his new life at ASU and has bonded with his teammates.
"It's been fantastic," Tyson said. "All my teammates and coaches have been helpful in getting me to move in and get adjusted with our offense so it's been great."
The Sun Devil players and coaches have connected with Tyson throughout spring practice. Not only does Tyson's infectious personality spread rapidly around the locker room, his knowledge of the game has benefited the young team.
"He is a really smart football guy," Bourguet said. "Coming from Alabama, he knows his X's and O's. It's been really good to bring someone new in and lift the room up."
Tyson's leadership is displayed through his relationship with freshman quarterback Bennett Meredith. Because of their Alabama ties, the two relate to each other on a deeper level.
"Our high schools were both rivals and I always joke with him that we beat them twice this year," Meredith said. "It's kind of cool to have another Birmingham guy. He has grown up where I have grown up. We have similar personalities because we grew up in the same town."
With the season about six months away, Tyson has a long way to go before his role on the team is set in stone. The lessons his great-grandfather used to preach to his athletes could lead Tyson to success.
"If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit – you'll be a winner," Bryant used to say. "The price of victory is high but so are the rewards."
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