• Lalo Mata

Idaho State's Next Big Talent

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Written By: Lalo Mata                                                                                                       

Published: March 10, 2020

Tyler Vander Waal

Tyler looking to flip the switch after a transfer from Wyoming to Idaho State is something college football fans can’t wait to see.

The Bengals are coming off a rough 3-9 season in the 2019 season behind coach Rob Phenicie in hopes Tyler can be one of the reasons the program has a turn around in the 2020 season.

Standing at 6’4, Vander Waal is already coming into the team as one of the biggest QBs on the roster. Tyler looks to make a name for himself this offseason and bring a big difference into the locker room as he had a confident campaign in 2019 with the cowboys. 

He comes from the hometown of Elk Grove and is the pride of Chistian Brothers High School. When you think of Christian Brothers you also think of the name Vander Waal. Tyler, in his senior year, led the CB football team to the section title game only to lose a tough one to No. 1 seed Oakdale.

To go with the talent of the 2016 season, it’s hard to miss the name Spencer Webb, who was in his junior year at the time. The standout wide receiver at the University of Oregon was quite the show in his high school days as he was arguably a top receiver in the section and a top choice in Christian Brothers’ offense with Tyler handling the snap.

Although being a high schooler getting recruited by top notch D1 football programs can sound stressful, Tyler said it was actually a time of his hard work and dedication finally being recognized both on and off the field.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to younger football players in their recruiting process?

“One thing I’d tell kids getting recruited is just have fun. Enjoy the process because not a lot of kids get the opportunity to get recruited. I would also say be professional about everything because the relationships you make along the way with coaches and players will open a crazy amount of doors later on in life. Also don’t get too caught up in it. Focus on your team and school because that’s what recruiters are looking for.”

Most athletes have what it takes to be a next level kind of player, but you become a different asset to a team when you can be a next level student. Tyler points out how easy it is to be or dream of being a D1 athlete, but you’re a different type of recruit when you can put that same effort and dedication into school.

As for the attention you begin to get from schools, it’s also hard to stay loose and calm with it all. It’s important to stay confident and calm as well as enjoy and have fun through it all as he says.

Is becoming a student-athlete harder at the D1 level?

“It’s definitely harder. The demands are harder, the schedule is harder, but it’s all about time management. The demands are a lot higher because the stakes are higher, but if you can balance your work, then you won’t have a problem.”

What’s the biggest part about earning a spot on a college roster?

“The biggest part of being on a college roster is just having the joy of still playing football. When you look at stats, I am part of the 5% of college athletes on a college scholarship and the joy that I can bring to my family and my city from the game. Also the places this game takes you is incredible.”

It’s easy to get lost in the lights when it comes to the level Tyler plays at, but then again, people have to consider themselves lucky to get to showcase their talent and prove how hard they work and how good they can be.

What does the offseason mean to you?

“The off season is a nice time to kind of recuperate on everything. Rest the body, but sharpen the mind. It’s a good time to get stronger in the weight room, but for me, I’m throwing 4 times a week and watching film almost daily because there are always ways to get better, but it’s nice to kind of step back from the game and recharge again.”

The offseason could be confusing for most people, especially if you aren’t at the collegiate level yet. As Tyler speaks on his daily and weekly routine, it should also be a wake up call to anyone wanting to be at the level Tyler is at. The offseason is driven to make yourself better than you already are while making sure you’re still healthy and ready to go. Working on the mental part of the game is just as important as the physical part, which is why Vander Waal takes time out of his day to study film just as much as he’s in the weight room and throwing on the field.

What influence do you want to have on other football players?

“I think through it all I just want to have a positive impact no matter the case. I want to help others reach their goals and be the best players they can be. If people want to pick my brain about football, I’m all for that. I just want to have a positive impact on my community.”

What are your plans for after college?

“After college, I’d like to play football for the longest amount of time possible, but after it’s all over, I’d like to get into the sports broadcasting industry. My dream would be to work for ESPN as an analyst or sideline reporter.”

Sacramento has high expectations for Tyler coming up this fall seasons, as he approaches the second half of his collegiate career. Vander Waal looks to rebuild the Bengals this season after coming off their rough 2019 season. Tyler hopes to change the atmosphere of Idaho State's football program for many years to come.