VYPE 411: Tyler "TJ" Harold
This week we sat down to chat with Steele Defensive Linemen/Linebacker Tyler "TJ" Harold of San Antonio Clark to talk with him about his season so far, and what we can expect the rest of the seaosn.
VYPE: Talk to me about the lead up to this season first. What did you work on in the offseason to get ready for this season?
TJ: During the offseason I was on a continuous grind. I was training to get faster and stronger as well as injury prevention workouts. I would wake up every morning at 5am and hit the weights then I would have other workouts throughout the day with my D-Line trainer Victor Castro of Xclusive Athletics and my other trainer Jim Swift, so I could be prepared for the Summer camp circuit.
VYPE: Who do you try and emulate your game off of and why?
TJ: I try to emulate my game off of Aaron Donald. He is a ruthless, mean, defensive lineman that is fast, strong and defied the odds considering his size. How explosive he is out his stance and he comes and lays the wood every hit. That’s the player I try to be like.
VYPE: Y'all play in a huge district so the margin for error is small when District starts Week 3 and only 4 teams make the playoffs. What do you do to get yourself ready for district play so early in the season?
TJ: I get myself prepared mentally and every morning I wake up having that “get to” mindset. My head coach, Coach Geist tells us “it’s a get to, not a have to” we get to wake up early every morning and get to have an amazing practice with our brothers. Being an underdog in the district we have that mindset already instilled in us. My defensive coordinator Coach Zaidan tells us, every practice that we must “practice like a championship football team.”
VYPE: What are some personal goals for you this season and how do you feel you've been doing to achieve those goals so far this season?
TJ: Some personal goals of mine this season was to really take control of the defense and establish myself as the main leader. I also want to be known as the best defensive lineman in my district and in San Antonio. Although my work isn’t done I have had great games this season and all my hard work from the summer is starting to pay off.
VYPE: Talk to me about the start to this season. 5-1 and 3-1 in district. What are some things you've seen from this team this year?
TJ: I’ve seen a lot of great things from this team and it honestly started in the summer when we would get ourselves up and run our own practices. Monday through Thursday we would put the work in as if the coaches were there. We have a very talented team this year and we get up every day knowing that we can be really special and as long as we trust each other and the coaches we’re going to have a great season.
VYPE: 4 games left in district, what can we expect from you on the defensive side of the ball in those 4 games?
TJ: You can expect a relentless effort to make plays in the backfield, a lot of sacks and TFL’s. I will do everything I can to create havoc and I won’t ever give up.
VYPE: How about the team as a whole?
TJ: You’re going to see our team excel and do very well the remainder of the season. We’re going to hold teams to little or no points and run the score up every game.
VYPE: What are your plans post senior year? College ball in your future?
TJ: I love football and it’s always been my goal to play college ball. I received my first offer from Coach Urban at Trinity University. I’ve also been invited and taken an unofficial visit to University of Pennsylvania and University of Kentucky. Navy, UWash, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and just recently Jackson State reached out and invited me to visit also. God is in control and I am just going to continue to work hard on and off the field to do my very best.
VYPE: What is your pre-game routine?
TJ: My pregame routine is I just usually lock in on the bus with some slow R&B music like Erykah Badu and songs of that nature, but once I hit the stadium it switches to more rap and music to get into my zone. I constantly stretch and get my arms and legs warmed up to attack the game. After we run out the tunnel I get a little prayer in praying for my health and my teams health. Then it’s show time!
VYPE: What has been your greatest memory as playing for Clark so far?
TJ: My favorite memory playing as a Clark Cougar so far was probably winning the Gucci Bowl last year, it was the first time we won in many years. It was an amazing experience and we’re going to do it again this year! My greatest memory off the field as a Clark Cougar was how we all came together to support our Assistant Coach, my position coach, Coach Ayala after the Uvalde tragedy. He used to be the assistant principal at Robb Elementary and the tragedy really affected him. I wanted to do something to show him that we care and I was able to get a bunch of the varsity players together to help open car doors in the morning at Hobby Middle School to help try and ease their minds so they wouldn’t be scared to go back to school. It meant a lot to me that my team showed up and was willing to help give back to the community. Being able to help like that meant just as much as a win on the field to me.
VYPE: Finally outside of the game of football, what's one of your favorite things to do off the field?
TJ: Some things I like to do off the field is pretty much spend time with my family. My family means the world to me and I don’t know what I would do without them. I also enjoy fishing and going on road trips.