The early Intel on the 6-foot-4, 285-pounder for Tift County High School came from a source who knows him well.
“You’re going to like this guy,” the source said. “On the field. Off the field. You’re really going to like him.”
Here’s the thing: The chance to sit down with him allowed a correspondent to learn a lot about West. From the time of his first action as a true freshman.
West came in on the third series. It was a zone-read play and he did what any young player would in that situation. He tackled both the quarterback and the guy he was aiming to pitch it to.
This was his first game against eventual Class 5A state finalist Warner Robins.
“That’s what you are supposed to do when nobody blocks you,” Tift County coach Ashley Anders said. “Tackle them both. If you can.”
West could. He would start the next game against Class 7A Valdosta and the rest of his games so far.
“Think he had at least three or four sacks against Valdosta as a freshman,” Anders said.
He had nine sacks that year with approximately 84 tackles. That’s playing in big-boy Class 7A for a state quarterfinalist team.
When he starts talking, he starts smiling.
It is hard not to notice the silvery charm that’s hanging from his neck. The origin of that piece stems from the childhood cartoon “Rugrats” and now he never takes it off.
Tift County High School DT Tyre West shows off the pendant that his mother recently got for him. He said he now never takes it off. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
“My Mom had gotten me this,” he said. “Ever since she got it for me a couple of months ago, I’ve just been wearing it.”
Anders laughed at that story.
“He is a Rugrat,” his head coach said. “Look at him. A big one.”
Why does he play football? His answer there is golden.
“I play for a lot of reasons,” West said. “I play for my family. Try to get them out of the situation we are all in now. I play for my Grandma. I played for everybody. I play for everybody in my community. Seeing how we had some people who were in my position. Guys who had this same type of talent. But never went anywhere with it.”
“I really play for them. I just play so everybody can see a guy like me from Tift County make it out of here.”
Check this sophomore highlight film. It is marvelous. It will take him out of Tifton.
What does Tyree West play football for?
That’s some violent (in a good way) sophomore game film for West. He’s not like that off the field.
“Tyre West is really one of the most chill positive people you could meet,” he said. “My motive is to never be satisfied. To never rest. To look at what else can be out there or me. I’m trying to get somewhere with my life that’s way better than where I am now.”
West would be the first member of his family to play college football. How many people does he feel pushing him on behind his back?
“A ton,” West answers,” “A ton. Maybe even 50.”
“When times are hard or things get tough. I think of all those people and then I find a little more to go even harder in those times.”
Especially his Grandma Jo McCrae.
“She’s been through a lot,” Tyree West said. “Open heart surgery. You name it and she still cooks for all of us every Sunday. She cooks chicken and greens. Sometimes she cooks lasagna. She cooks everything. All types of stuff really.”
West keeps answering question after question. Politely. With respect. And a big grin.
It is somewhere near the end of a good chat when one can’t help but notice there’s a script of letters inscribed around his wrist.
It reads like this: We > Me
“It is like I will always think of my team before I think of myself,” Tyre West said. “It is just there so I can look at it every day.”
West came in with a strong referral. But it seems like the initial first impression was undersold.
“He is as humble of a kid as we have,” Anders said.
He’s 6 feet, 4-plus inches and about 275 pounds. But he’s blessed with that type of attitude.
That’s a pretty good combo. But the safe bet here Kirby Smart’s first interaction with this young man also surpassed his wildest expectations, too.
Tyree West ranks as the No. 4 DT prospect and the No. 40 overall national recruit for 2022 on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
The first time Kirby Smart spoke to Tyree West
Anders shared another gem of a story regarding Tifton’s prized “5” tech. When listening to him and every who knows him well, these three words sum up a likely college “3” technique best.
Strong. Fast. Dangerous.
Smart probably knew that by the first time he spoke to West, too.
“Coach Smart asked Tyre what his favorite thing about playing defensive end was,” Anders said.
“Squeeze and spilling,” West replied.
That’s where the edge defender squeezes the gap by diving inside of a kick-out block on a power run play. They screw up blocking assignments through gap exchange and force the ball to the outside where a now-unblocked defender can make the play. Jimmy Johnson’s defenses made that technique famous.
According to the story, Smart kind of looked at West funny when he said that.
“Coach Smart said that you know I don’t think I’ve ever had a defensive end answer the question like that,” Anders said. “He said that most of them will say pass rush, sacking the quarterback and things like that. But Tyree knows that our defense is designed around doing that. He’s very selfless.”
His highlight films do show a little bit more there, though.
“With him, a lot of times he will spill the ball and then make the tackle, though.”
Anders, his head coach, knows what a college football player already looks like in high school. He was the defensive coordinator for multiple years at Georgia Southern, Murray State and Valdosta State.
There’s a certain edge that South Georgia guys with the major SEC offers seem to play with. West has that. He is an engine for his team.
Make sure to catch that play on his sophomore tape where he hawks a 150-pound receiver down some 20 yards down the field. He did what he was coached to do on a bubble pass. Then the effort took over.
It was not by accident.
“Tyre is a go-getter,” Anders said. “He’s one of those guys that you can say has had all these accolades He’s young. People might get the misconception that he’s a prima donna or something like that. All I can say is come watch him practice. The speed that he practices at is just like a game. We’ll be practicing and I will look up and see him chasing the ball 30 yards downfield on a pass play.”
“We always live by the old Chinese proverb around here. As you practice, you will play. He always practices the way he will play.”
His steps may slow down. Because every 280-pound defensive lineman gets tired. Yet it seems like his effort does not.
West stated that his power clean is already right at 350 to maybe 360 pounds. That is a South Georgia stout for a high school junior. He has always been strong.
He shared his favorite Chick-Fil-A recipe with everyone out there. Consider this to be your random educational moment of the latest DawgNation recruiting update.
“Going to Chick-Fil-A and getting a chicken sandwich and putting the fries on the chicken sandwich,” he said. “Take the Polynesian sauce and put it on top.”
That’s the Tyre West special. That’s his favorite meal.
Did you read that part about what Tyree West does with his favorite fast food sandwich yet? What about what he likes best about Georgia? (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
How does Tyree West feel about Georgia?
West said matter of factly he has a timeframe in mind when he will make his college decision known.
“To me right now it feels like I probably want to do it around my Mom’s birthday,” West said. “That would be December 2.”
He would like to honor his mother Savina Bathell with his decision on that day.
“My mom has meant everything to me,” he said. “She took care of me and us through thick and then. My Mom is really my rock. My Mom and my Dad.”
That’s not next year. West feels like it maybe this year.
“It feels like I am ready to just go home and have a place that I can call home,” he said.
West is a B-student. What is he looking for in a school?
“Somewhere that I feel like I am at home,” West said. “Somewhere that I feel like I belong. I can go change, change everything in my life and grow up as a man.”
He said that Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky, Ohio State and Florida make him feel that way.
“Georgia is really who hooks me up the most with all of that,” he said.
When he was watching those “Rugrats” cartoons, he was a Georgia fan. What does he like the best right now about the Bulldogs?
“Georgia is like about the defense,” he said. “I’m a big defensive guy.”
Defensive line coach Tray Scott has been doing a very good job here recruiting West. Scott has compared West to current Georgia senior DE Malik Herring.
“It is like when I talk to coach Scott I am hype,” West said. “Every time I talk to him. He makes me excited like to one day play for Georgia or be on one of his defensive lines or to be coached by him.”
The best thing he likes about UGA may be the full player experience.
“The big thing for me is like the program,” West said. “I just like that program. That program is going to get you set for college and then after college.”
Does he see any other schools coming on that will get a very good late look prior to his decision?
“It is either Tennessee or Auburn,” he said. “It is like Auburn they know the situation here because one of their coaches came from Tifton, too.”
The Volunteers will always be in it with West because they were his first Power 5 offer.
Check out his highlight reel from his last game against Perry.
Tyree West: He knows the other elite in-state DLs in 2022
West is rated as the nation’s No. 4 DT and No. 42 overall prospect in the class of 2022. Hardaway junior DE Mykell Williams ranks as the No. 5 DT and No. 48 overall on that same 247Sports Composite.
Cedar Grove junior DT Christen Miller is deserving of a bump from the nation’s No. 18 DT and the No. 222 overall recruit, but his pure 247Sports ratings place him as the No. 10 DT and at No. 117 overall.
Those guys all have offers from Georgia in the 2022 class. Has there been any conversation among those three about trying to play together?
“I’m hoping,” West said. “Christen is important to play with because Christen and I are like brothers. He knows what I will do and I will know what he will do at the same time.”
He has a good bond with Williams, too.
“He just like pushes me,” West said. “It is like a competition with us every time. It is like a friendly competition. It will make him work even harder to get better and it definitely makes me work harder.”
Anders, the longtime college defensive coordinator, shared one more thought about the player West is becoming. It might call for a new charm for his necklace one day.
“A lot of times with your defensive player’s as coaches you wind up comparing the athleticism of your great defensive players to an animal,” Anders said. “Tyre would be a rhino.”
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(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)