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Former walk-on finds home on Georgia Tech line
by Chase Wallace
cwallace@neighbornewspapers.com
August 08, 2012 10:35 AM | 1468 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In Division-I football, walk-ons are usually relegated to the scout team, often serving the role of a real-life tackling dummy as the starters prepare for each Saturday opponent.

Nobody informed Tyler Kidney when he showed up to Georgia Tech.

The former Northview lineman not only worked his way onto the field as a freshman, but he cracked the starting lineup on the most prolific rushing attack in college football as a sophomore.

“I was a little intimidated coming in, but right away I saw that a lot of the older guys weren’t exactly twice my size and that boosted my confidence,” said Kidney, who showed up as a 240 pound freshman.

“You’re always going to have doubters [when you’re smaller], but I knew I had something to prove and I was able to come in and out perform guys with my technique, and technique is so important at this level,” he said.

A 2009 Northview graduate, Kidney saw little interest from college suitors after tearing his ACL just before his senior season got underway. Already undersized and now hurt, he was left no Division-I offers and a single preferred walk-on spot at Georgia Tech.

While he didn’t know it at the time, Kidney said the high school injury was a blessing in disguise because it led him to Paul Johnson’s unique triple option attack — which often features smaller and more athletic lineman like himself.

“In the end it all worked out. I got to stay close to home and play at a great school like Georgia Tech, I can’t complain,” Kidney said

After taking a redshirt in 2009, Kidney saw action as a reserve in six of 13 games during the 2010 season and was placed on scholarship.

Last fall he broke into the starting lineup at right tackle, starting six of the team’s 13 games while helping Georgia Tech’s offense lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing yards, total offense, and scoring offense.

Now turning his sights towards his junior season, Kidney said he hopes to lay claim to his starting role for good in fall camp.

But just like when he showed up as a freshman, he knows he will have to work for everything he gets.

“We have a bunch of young kids coming in every year that are really talented and I know I have to keep fighting for my spot. If I take things for granted those things will get taken away,” Kidney said.
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