ST. LOUIS (BVM) – In order to be a Division I football player, you need to have grit and determination both on and off the field. No one is more aware of what it takes than three-star defensive lineman Tyler Gant who committed to Northwestern back in May. Through hard work, the 6-foot-3 defensive lineman has found success for himself, and his teammates, which has led to multiple accomplishments.
Like many kids, Gant played multiple sports growing up. The St. Louis native’s favorite sport was basketball until he took a major interest in football at the age of 9.
“I had been playing basketball my whole life, but I was bigger than most kids my size so my parents decided to have me play football,” Gant said. “I didn’t really know what I was doing at first, but I was doing pretty well. I loved hitting people and flying around.”
When Gant was in seventh grade, he made a U.S national team training camp where some of the top players in the nation competed. Gant found himself performing at a high-level which made him realize that he could play Division I college football one day. Gant also started in the national game at Hall of Fame Stadium.
“I tried out for a USA national team organization not thinking I was gonna make it, but just to see how the process was,” Gant said. “Going into training camp, I was really just happy to be there, but I ended up dominating and starting in the Hall of Fame game. From that point on, my No. 1 goal was to play Division I college football.”
Last season was one to remember for Gant. Playing at Christian Brothers College, Gant helped lead the Cadets to a state championship. Gant also earned an additional accolade as he was named to the first team all-metro defense, recording 73 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, five sacks and two interceptions in his junior campaign.
“Coming into high school, I was determined to level up every season,” Gant said. “Coming into junior year, I felt that it was my time to dominate. I had to let everybody know that I am the best defensive lineman in St. Louis and I feel like I did that.”
As Gant enters his senior season, he will look to win back-to-back state championships and earn more individual accomplishments to end his high school career on a high note.
“My No. 1 goal is to win back-to-back state championships,” Gant said. “I also want to be on the all-metro and all-state teams so I can let everyone in Missouri know that I am working for a reason and that I’m the top guy.”
Gant has also found success off the field as he was named to the 2021 Missouri Academic All-State team and earned a 4.25 GPA during the spring semester. After watching his older teammates be successful when he was younger, Gant wants to translate what he learned to the younger guys as he looks to be a leader on and off the field.
“I try to lead by example and what motivated me was seeing guys in my position be successful,” Gant said. “If I’m showing the younger guys that you need to have the grades and be successful in football too, then that’s more motivation for them.”
Gant is a good example that hard work pays off. When the defensive lineman received his first college offer from Kansas, he couldn’t help but be emotional knowing how hard he worked for it.
“I received my first offer sophomore year,” Gant said. “I got the text from my head coach and I was literally in tears in class. It was just the most amazing moment ever to find out that all that hard work and grinding paid off.”
After receiving his first offer, many other offers started rolling in for Gant as he got to visit multiple different colleges. Gant traveled all over the country visiting schools like Iowa, Iowa State and Arkansas before ultimately deciding to pick Northwestern.
“The recruiting process was amazing and my parents made sure that I visited like 20 colleges,” Gant said. “I’ve been all over the place and to be able to meet all of those coaches, visiting many different kinds of universities, it’s truly a blessing and I’m glad that I found my home.”
When it came to choosing a school, Northwestern checked all the boxes.
“I felt like it was the university that matched me the best as a person,” Gant said. “I get to play football in the Big Ten which is one of the best conferences in the nation. Northwestern is also a top-10 academic school in the nation, so you get the best of both worlds.”
Gant has many goals for his time at Northwestern, but some things he really wants to do is enjoy his time, learn from his experiences along the way and create long-lasting relationships.
“I definitely want to embrace the moment,” Gant said. “I want to take in all the experiences I can get, learn from them, make them last and just network. I want to meet new people, create new relationships and absorb as much knowledge while I’m there.”