Who said staying home was overrated?
On Dec. 18, it was announced that St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate Tyler Doty was one of 14 incoming players in the University at Buffalo’s 2020 football class on the first day of the Football Bowl Subdivision’s early signing period. The Gasport native is staying right at home, following through on his verbal commitment with the Bulls dating back to July of 2018.
Doty, a three-year varsity member, put together a strong career for the Marauders which capped off with being named a first-team All-Western New York selection and being regarded the area’s top lineman as the Trench Trophy award winner in 2018. Since his graduation this past spring, Doty took the unconventional route of taking a season off. He has just been saving up his money and training at STA Sports Performance, as well as working with former UB assistant coach and Erie Community College head coach Scott Pilkey.
The 6-foot-5, 295 pounder will be a January enrollee with the Bulls, allowing him to get acclimated with his new team for winter workouts and ahead of spring ball.
“I’m looking forward to having, hopefully, four great years of being at least in the lineup, hopefully,” Doty said. “And doing whatever I can to help the team be better and I just want to see UB be the best, you know?”
Having a support system like his family to rely on, staying close to home was a key factor in Doty’s decision making.
“I definitely wanted to stay home because I want my family to be there and be there to support me like my grandparents,” Doty said. “ ... And it’s always nice to have family in the area that, if you need something, you can always call and ask you know. So that was definitely a big factor.”
Had Doty gone to a local public school, he would have been playing for the combined Barker/Royalton-Hartland team. Although he was disgruntled with the decision at first and was shy about coming out of his shell in a new environment, Doty realized that Joe’s gave him a wealth of opportunities to explore.
He is also cognizant of the help that was needed to get him to this point today.
“As I went to St. Joe’s and realized what the school is all about and everything like that, leaving my friends back at home, it wasn’t a big deal to me anymore,” Doty said. “ ... It obviously took a lot of sacrifices for my family and me to get me to school every day and make workouts every day in the summer. I mean 45 minute drive here and back, that’s about an hour and 30 minutes a day of driving, if not more. So it was a lot of sacrifices on everybody, not just me. It wasn’t just me who got me to where I am, my whole family helped me get there.
“ ... Once I got (to Joe’s), and saw how nice everybody was, and like how open everybody was, I was like I knew I found my place. And I found a great group of friends that today, even like when everybody’s at school, we still text and whatever, so I made a lot of lifelong friends there and I don’t regret my decision whatsoever.”
Doty was just as dominant in track and field as he was on the gridiron for Joe’s, as he was a Catholic High School Athletic Association state champion in shot put and discus and he set a Monsignor Martin record in the shot with a throw of 61-feet, 6¼ inches. As much as he’d love to get back into throwing, Doty is solely focused on his passion for the game of football.
Seeing what head coach Lance Leipold has done in his four years has also played a role for Doty, leading the Bulls to back-to-back bowl games and their first-ever bowl win in this season’s Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl. Doty will be playing under o-line coach Scott Fuchs, joining a unit that was tops in the nation in giving up just eight sacks all season and paved the way for two 1,000-yard rushers in sophomores Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks.
Doty plans to study exercise science at UB, in hopes of becoming a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, opening his own gym, or even partnering with some of the gyms he’s trained in before.
“I don’t regret my decision to wait to go to college like this, at all. I love the program, I love the coaches, I love everybody who I’ve talked to there,” Doty said of the program coming off its fourth eight-win season in its FBS era. “It’s been a great experience for me and I’m super excited and I hope that, within the next four years, we win four more bowl games. It’s just great to see what UB’s become and one of the factors that drew me in was I could tell they were rising up to be a great team and I think, obviously, they can still improve and I hope that they do with me there and I hope everything goes well there with us.”
For any kids considering the jump from public to private schools, Doty shared a bit of advice to kids that may be wary like he was during the fall of 2015.
“Trust me, I thought the workload was gonna be 10 times harder than it was. But when you get there and you talk to your other students that you just joined with,” Doty said. “Some of them might be in the same situation as you, (so) it’s not as hard as you think it’s gonna be, because that’s what kind of drew me away from it. Like ‘oh is this gonna be harder because it’s a private school?’ And that almost kind of made me not want to go to begin with.
“ ... The teachers are super helpful at private schools. ... They’ll stay after if you tell them. I mean, every teacher’s gonna get you through that school. Definitely rely on your teachers, even at public schools, no matter what. Just rely on your teachers, ask for help when you need it. Don’t be too afraid to ask someone for help, that’s one thing I’ve learned from going to a private school."
For more from sports reporter Khari Demos, follow him on Twitter @riri_demos. Also, tune in to Khari as a guest on Tony Caligiuri’s ‘Inside High School Sports,’ 10 a.m. Saturdays on WGR 550.