It’s ironic in a way that a lineman nicknamed “Big Country” would want to stay close to home. Yet, that was a deciding factor for Lawrence County (KY) lineman Tyler Combs, who gave his verbal commitment to Marshall on February 20th, just weeks after National Signing Day for 2011’s recruiting class.
Combs’ home of Louisa, Kentucky is just 30 miles from Huntington and Marshall assistant coaches Gerad Parker and Phil Ratliff have strong connections to the Kentucky border town. “Marshall was the first to offer,” says Combs’ high school coach Joey Cecil.
“Ohio called and offered, UK [Kentucky] visited and wanted him to come to their junior day, but Marshall was close to home and their offer came so early.” Combs, a two-sport athlete in basketball and football, got his nickname “Big Country” at an early age after idolizing former Oklahoma State big man Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, and Cecil says it’s stuck with Combs ever since.
It’s appropriate, too; Combs stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 275 pounds. But don’t herd Combs in with likes of other big bodies. Cecil says his lineman has football smarts, athleticism and high character.
“He has a good knowledge of the game,” says Cecil of Combs. “When you add in his athletic ability – he has good feet and hands – he’s one of the best I’ve ever been around. “It’s cliché to say it, but he’s an even better kid than football player,” said Cecil. “He’s just a solid individual.”
Combs’ line play helped Lawrence Co. High School, who runs a Wing T style offense, achieved a 8-3 record that included an appearance in the 2010 Kentucky State High School Playoffs. Now that he’ll be moving on to the next level, Combs will have to adjust to a spread offense under Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday. Cecil says his lineman is up to the challenge.
“Absolutely, he can adapt,” says Cecil. “When you look at him, you can see that he has so much potential.”