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Against All Odds

Against All Odds

Note: The following appears in the SC State gameday football program. To purchase a copy of the program while supplies last, send a check for $6 to Clemson Athletic Communications; P.O. Box 31; Clemson, SC 29633 with your return address.

When Tyshon Dye sets his mind to something, he is going to get it done. In middle school, after skipping a year of football and realizing how much he missed it, he decided he was going to get himself in a position where he could play Division I football. Fast forward to 2016, and he is headed into his fourth year as a Tiger.

“A defining moment in my life was when I realized I could actually do something and go somewhere and play football,” said Dye.

“It gave me a lot of confidence in everything that I did. Where I’m from, not many people get opportunities to go to a Division I school to play football. I was pretty good in middle school, but there were some kids that were messing with me and telling me that no one had made it out of Elberton (Ga.) playing football. At that moment, I made up my mind that I was going to be one of the first people to get a scholarship and go Division I to play and prove them wrong.

“It’s very cool to be able to look back and say ‘I did it’.”

He even accomplished his goal in a way that not only attracted the attention of Clemson, as he also received offers from Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Southern California and Tennessee. But Clemson provided Dye with what he wanted from his college experience, both on and off the field.

“I felt like Clemson was a good fit,” stated Dye. “I had many offers, but I felt like the Clemson coaches kept it real from day one.

“I’m from about an hour down the road, so I felt like I was home. The coaches always made me feel like they wanted me and made me feel important. I knew that they would help me…if football didn’t go the way I wanted, I knew Clemson would always have my back.”

Football almost did not go the way he wanted, as a back injury forced him to redshirt during his freshman season in 2013, and his comeback effort was halted by a torn Achilles in early 2014.

“My injury recovery has taught me to appreciate the game a lot more, and also that the game is not permanent for anyone, because injuries can set anyone back.

“It taught me to continue to work harder. I always thought I had a good work ethic, but when I got hurt, I really understood what it was going to take to get me back to what I thought I could be. I was going to have to work even harder.”

Despite his work ethic, Dye acknowledged that there were some days during the recovery process that he questioned whether or not he wanted to continue with the game.

“There were a lot of days when I wanted to give up,” he admitted. “But at the end of the day, when you have your mind set on what you really want in life or what you really want to do, those bad days are not enough to bring you down. I always knew what I wanted, and I already knew that I wanted to be something better. I stayed focused on that goal to get healthy and try to come back and play.”

The work Dye put in during his journey back to full health has not gone unnoticed by his teammates and coaches, and head coach Dabo Swinney said that Dye has earned his spot on the roster.

“I am really proud of what Tyshon has done to get back into the lineup,” said Swinney. “He had the furthest to go because of his Achilles injury two years ago. We are seeing that burst again that we saw in practice when he first got here as a freshman. He has really worked hard in the training room and on the field. Wayne Gallman is the top guy, but Tyshon is going to get his opportunities.”

Dye is happy to finally be in a position where he can contribute again as one of the team’s most physical running backs, and he looks forward to the opportunity this year to add to his career numbers.

“To know where I came from and to actually be back on the field…not many people can come back from the situation I was in. It’s a humbling experience that I had. But now, it feels great to be able to say that I don’t feel my back anymore, and I don’t feel my Achilles anymore. It feels like I’ve never been hurt before.”

And he wants to keep it that way.

“Stay healthy,” said #22 of his goals for this season. “Try to learn to get better each and every day. Try not to get complacent. And know that if things don’t go right at the beginning, keep working hard and it’ll pay off in the end. Keep grinding.”

Regardless of the numbers Dye puts up this season, he wants to be remembered as that player who never gave up, even when it would have been easy to.

“I want to be remembered as a hard worker. If I had a legacy at Clemson, I want it to be that ‘that kid worked hard, all the time, no matter what was thrown his way’.”