Over the next couple of weeks, FTRS will be taking a moment to honor each of this year's senior class. In advance, we would just like to say thank you for the hard work and dedication you have put into Georgia Tech, both on and off the field.
As a Recruit
As a lightly sought-after recruit from Chattahoochee High School in Alpharetta, Byerly initially elected to attend Middle Tennessee State University. After redshirting his first season of college football in 2011, he transferred to Georgia Tech to play out the remainder of his career for Paul Johnson on The Flats. In his own words, the decision to join the Georgia Tech program never yielded "an ounce of regret" despite losing to his former Blue Raiders team the season following his transfer in utterly forgettable fashion.
As a high school player at Chattahoochee, Byerly lettered in both wrestling and football. He still owns the school records in many football categories, including passing touchdowns as well as rushing scores by a quarterback, and led the team to the AAAA Championship in 2010.
On the Field
During his three seasons of on-field action at Tech, Byerly proved time and time again that he was not content with occasional appearances in blowout games. He found himself a nice niche with the team, oftentimes taking over for quarterback Justin Thomas in goal-line situations and the occasional short yardage play from the beginning on 2014 up until his season-ending knee injury prior to the Tulane game in 2015.
Byerly, who had as great an understanding of Paul Johnson's offense as anyone on the team, proved his worth early and often despite playing behind the explosive Justin Thomas for two full seasons. He concludes his Georgia Tech career having amassed 365 rushing yards and 174 passing yards to go with 10 total touchdowns. Perhaps Byerly's most memorable performance came versus Duke in 2014 when he came in to relieve an injured Justin Thomas and ended up nearly leading the Jackets to victory, completing 7 of 10 passes for 125 yards and rushing for another 30. The team fell short in the end, but Byerly's performance and determination certainly stood out to fans and coaches alike.
It is rare that the absence of a backup quarterback is felt by the entire team, but the knee injury which ended Byerly's 2015 campaign had a glaring impact on the rest of the season. Without his on-field contributions, the Jackets regressed from one of the top red zone offenses in the nation in 2014 to 68th in 2015.
Off the Field
The title of backup quarterback is a dubious one at best, but few wore it better than Tim Byerly. In today's world of harsh criticism and negative publicity surrounding many of college football's biggest stars, Byerly managed to maintain his image as a person of the highest character throughout his college career. While many players would respond to being denied a sixth season of eligibility with frustration or anger, Byerly instead drafted a sincere note to Yellow Jacket nation thanking them -- coaches, fans, teammates, and alumni -- for his experience on The Flats. Being out for an entire season is nothing short of irritating, but Byerly had the following to say about the experience:
And the biggest thank-you of all is to the Yellow Jacket nation: student, professor, fan, and alum. Being sidelined this entire season has given me the chance to develop a deeper respect and admiration for your support.
That attitude, coupled with his phenomenal leadership experience and unquestionably high character, will certainly help Byerly be successful in his professional career; he graduated from Tech with a degree in business administration in December.
Congratulations to Tim Byerly on an excellent college football career! Thanks for all of your contributions to Georgia Tech and best of luck in the future!