Going into his senior year, Blaine’s Tyler Strand was pretty sure about two things when it came to football. One, he felt the Bengals had a chance to have a special season in 2018. Two, he knew – if he…
Going into his senior year, Blaine’s Tyler Strand was pretty sure about two things when it came to football. One, he felt the Bengals had a chance to have a special season in 2018. Two, he knew – if he got the chance – where he would be going to play college football next year. On both accounts, Strand was right on the money.
“We all knew we were going to have a good season,” Strand said of the Blaine Bengals. “We had all been playing together since we were freshmen and every year, we could see we were getting better. When our bodies started to fill out, I knew we were going to click this year. About five games into the season I knew we were rolling, and we kept it going.”
They rolled to an undefeated regular season and all the way to the 6A state semi-finals.
“When we got into a flow on offense and could run the ball well, and if we could convert on third down, we were doing well,” Strand said. “We had some great players on defense – our defense kept us in games last year.”
Strand was a two-year starter at right tackle.
“I think my strength is my feet. I am not the heaviest lineman out there, but I can get a reach block, and I am good at pass blocking.”
Coming up through the Blaine program, Strand played all over the place. He spent time at tight end, defensive line, outside linebacker and then halfway through his freshman year he moved to offensive line permanently.
“I got a lot better run blocking this year, but I need to get down and move people. I think putting on some pounds will help with that.”
This winter he is playing on the basketball team.
“I was a captain on the football team and am also a captain on the basketball team,” said Strand – who when not on a field or court – like to deer hunt. “I play center. I’m not much of a scorer, but I do the garbage work, rebound and play defense.”
Strand is torn on what to do this spring. The 6’4″ 240-pound athlete has played baseball for most of his life, but last season he threw the shot and discus for the track team. The switch helped him put on weight for football, but his heart has always been with baseball.
Recruiting was a short process for Strand.
“At first I wasn’t being talked to at all,” Strand told northstarfootballnews.com. “St. Thomas reached out to me and then Minnesota State-Moorhead reached out and ended up offering me a scholarship. Then I got a visit to Duluth. I always have kind of wanted to go to Duluth as a kid. When I went on the visit that was it – ‘there we go. I am done’. I knew I wanted to go to UMD, and I committed like four days after that.”
Bemidji State and Northern State also reached out to the senior, but Duluth was always on the top of his list.
“(UMD) has nice facilities and stuff like that but that wasn’t the reason,” Strand explained. “They have a rich history, and I liked the way the coaches interacted with me. I know a couple of Blaine guys that go there. I fell in love right away.”
Strand – who will be majoring in special education – expects to redshirt before competing for a spot somewhere on the Bulldogs’ offensive line.
“The (coaches) said I have good feet and am a physical player who plays up to the whistle. They also said they weren’t concerned with my size and know I will be able to put on good weight.”
Strand was right on the money with his predictions of how his senior season would pan out. No doubt he sees success with his new team too. If he is right again, Minnesota-Duluth’s coaching staff will know they were right on Tyler Strand too.