Schertz Clemens HS
National Rank at DT: 35
Overall State Rank: NR
STAR RATING: **
An Inside Texas conversation with Schertz Clemens head coach Greg Ferrara on Tyrell Higgins:
Inside Texas: What's he like off the field? Talking to Tyrell, he seems like a real personable kid.
Greg Ferrara: He has a great personality and he likes to be in the spotlight. That's one thing about him, since his sophomore year he's been on the varsity and he's played with good groups of kids and it's been fun to see him grow up as a person. And he's going to do good. He's going to do good for y'all up there.
IT: So he's more of a vocal leader?
Ferrara: He's vocal. He's very vocal, but he leads by example. He wasn't just a talker, he led by example. That was one thing he did a great job of, getting our defense going all the time.
IT: What are his biggest strengths on the football field?
Ferrara: Number one is quickness. I tell you what, he is great with his hands. He is great off the edge. I think Coach (Duane) Akina said they were going to use him as a defensive tackle and different things up front. That's what he gives you, that long arm span, pass-rushing, he is good at pass rushing. One thing I know Texas is going to do is get him in a great weight program. You'll see a real big difference then.
IT: I noticed that he's naturally very large.
Ferrara: Yeah, and he played some tight end for us and had some great receptions for us. He'll be a good one.
IT: On the other hand, what does he need to improve as he makes the transition from high school to Division I?
Ferrara: The weight. He's got to get stronger and that's the main thing. He's got to get stronger. Going against the offensive line, he's lucky that (Kasey) Studdard and those guys are gone right now, because I remember watching them in spring training through those years and wow, Sendlein and the whole bunch.
IT: When was the first time, in interacting with him, that you realized, "I've got a real special football player on my hands"?
Ferrara: Well, when he was a freshman I had a guy named Yaniv Barnett that went to the University of Arizona. Same kid. The difference is from Tyrell to Yaniv is Yaniv was All-State two years as a defensive tackle and Tyrell, work ethic was a lot better. We told him this past year, "It can't just be in workouts, it's got to carry onto the field," and it did this year. He became a spotlight player and he shined.
IT: Coach (Mack) Brown was down here last week. How was that?
Ferrara: Oh great. He came by last year with James Henry. We were ready this time. Last year this place was mobbed. Everybody in our school district, people I think just driving by, I don't know if Coach Brown had a marquee on his car or something, but this year we were ready for it. He was laughing, he said he and Coach Akina were over at Churchill, I think they have Ian Harris at tight end, he said it was like last year here. That was their first time signing over there. He said that was, not a zoo, but crazy, but fun.
IT: Is there something unique about Tyrell that our people might find interesting?
Ferrara: Well, he'll tell you, that's for sure. Tyrell will tell you about himself. He is reminds me a lot of James Henry. Very good person, very outgoing. They're going to talk about themselves and there is nothing wrong with that. They back it up, and that's what's great about that.
Also see: Here He Comes
Horns to Steal One from Cowboys?
Texas Picks Up Another One
In Depth: Higgins Makes it Texas
UT Signing Day Bio: A three-year starter and letterwinner at defensive tackle and defensive end … also saw action at tight end … versatile two-sport letterman who recorded 205 tackles and 12 sacks during his final two prep seasons … helped his team to a 24-3 record during that span … tabbed second-team 4A all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association and honorable mention 4A all-state by The Associated Press as a senior … also named first-team all-district 26-4A and first-team all- area … recorded 108 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries … helped Clemens to a 13-2 record in advancing to the 4A state semifinals … sprained his ankle in the first quarter of that game, but went on to record 10 tackles and two TFL in the 27-14 loss to La Marque … named first- team all-district 26-4A as a junior … notched 97 tackles, six sacks, eight PBD, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … helped Clemens to an 11-1 record in advancing to the 4A area finals … also a two-year letterwinner in track and field participating in shot put and discus … a two-time qualifier for regionals in the shot put … a prep honor roll student … participates in PALS (Peer Assistance and Leadership), mentoring at a local elementary school … enjoys exercising and playing the piano … full name is Tyrell Louis Higgins … born 11/14/88 in Landsguhl, Germany … has also lived in Universal City, Texas and Clarksville, Tenn.
NEXT UP: KYLE HIX
All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas