GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Ty Youngblood, a senior RB/LB on the Greeneville High School football team.
Over the course of the high school football season, you start to hear some familiar names. Ty Youngblood, the Greeneville High School running back/linebacker is certainly in the mix.
But Youngblood’s real name? You could have never guessed it.
“Well I guess my real name is Arthur Vester Youngblood IV, that is my official documented name,” Youngblood said. “Just Ty, just Ty, it was a nickname my parents gave me based on my dad’s initials.”
Sure the Greeneville PA announcer is happy about that decision.
“Ty is just a shorter version so I guess when I was writing my name on Kindergarten papers I wouldn’t have to do as many letters,” Youngblood said.
Out on the playground, a name like that is sure to stick out. Just ask teammate Will Albright.
“We grew up together, me and him, we went to preschool together he moved away to Mountain City and the 1st day of 6th grade practice he came and showed up and I said ‘do I know you’ and we made the connection,” Albright said.
“Lord would have it that we would play multiple football games together as high school seniors,” Youngblood said.
Those multiple football games were certainly some special ones, as the Greene Devils went on to win back-to-back state titles the last two years.
Youngblood was a big part of those championship teams, but took that step forward this year as a senior leader.
“What you see is what you get with Ty, he’s a consistent football player he’s a great leader for us always doing things the right way always on his teammates to get better and himself,” head coach Dan Hammonds said.
“He will tell you it’s not him, it’s the program that has made him be who he is and he knows we’re proud of him,” Albright said.
You can just tell when you’re around him; he has the presence of a leader.
“He’s been doing it the whole time he’s been here, he was a captain last year as a junior with 27 seniors and that was voted by his teammates so it’s no different than what he’s done before,” Hammonds said, who is in his first year as the head coach of the team but has previously been on staff.
That presence was felt on the field Friday night, in a playoff game against Elizabethton; but not within the game.
After years of winning nearly every game he’s played, Ty Youngblood’s instinct kicked in; to lead, in defeat, with honor and gratitude.
It was a bitter reality, knowing that his high school football career is over. But he knows, it’s bigger than football.
Youngblood led a prayer circle directly after the game, together with both teams.
“You can’t find a better guy, a better dude not only on the football field but in the classroom in the weight room just around the city,” Albright said.
People are naturally drawn to leaders, and the Greeneville community adores Ty. People showed tremendous support on social media after the game to commend the professionalism Ty and these young men showed.
“He does a good job in the community, just like he does for football so what you see is what you get, he’s a special young man and we’re gonna miss him, we’re trying to enjoy him for a few weeks,” Hammonds said.
While it’s the end of an era for him at Greeneville, he’s on the way to starting another chapter. He is committed to play football at Furman University.
“I think Furman is getting a steal, you know, FCS level I think he’s got every bit of that ability, you get into height and weight and all that but it’s hard to measure heart and he’ll be successful and do well down there,” Hammonds said.
“It’s exciting, it’s a cool thing but coaches at Furman have said the same thing and same way I think about it, you got a job to do here and business to take care of here at high school here at Greeneville with an E before I can go to Greenville without an E in South Carolina and start my college career there,” Youngblood said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.