Transfer student Tyler Rodriguez proving his worth as Kean’s starting quarterback

Tyler Rodriguez threw for 190 yards and ran for 86 yards in Kean’s win over Bridgewater State.

Tyler Rodriguez threw for 190 yards and ran for 86 yards in Kean’s win over Bridgewater State.

By: Angel Ospina | Posted on Sept. 28, 2015

They say nothing is permanent except change, luckily for Tyler Rodriguez change came at the perfect time.

Rodriguez, a junior student-athlete here at Kean University, felt change was necessary when he made the decision to transfer from rival school Montclair State University this fall semester.

“I left Montclair because the coach told me I was a backyard football QB and couldn’t play there,” said Rodriguez.

However, he’s flourished at Kean. Rodriguez quickly proved his worth and earned his role as the starting quarterback for the Cougars.

“I’ve felt very comfortable with the team and the coaches since I’ve been at Kean,” Rodriguez said. “It just feels like the right fit for me.”

The 21-year-old Carteret native made his first career start as quarterback on September 12 and led the Cougars to their first season opening win since 2011.

“Tyler’s performance was what we expected from him when we named him the starter,” said Head Coach Daniel Garrett. “We are looking forward to seeing Tyler get better one day at a time.

Tyler led the team on the season opener with a total of 190 yards in the air and another 86 yards rushing. “It was his first college start at QB and the game didn’t seem to move too fast for him,” stated Garrett. “He was poised and was in charge on the field, he has great field demeanor.”

Tyler’s long road to his first collegial start as a quarterback started when he was five years old and he’s been in love with the game ever since.

“I love the intensity of the game and love the fact that I have all the responsibility during every play as a quarterback,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has always handled the intensity a quarterback faces well, as he led his Carteret High School to a Central Jersey Group II state championship in 2012.

“He’s always been really good and was always one of the best players on his team since a young age,” said his older sister Chelsie Rodriguez. “ I always loved watching him play and watching him lead,” she said caringly over the phone.

Whether it’s a state championship game or his first college game starting, Rodriguez’s leadership abilities allow him to step up and adjust to any moment.

“I just want everyone to know they can rely on me to make the big play when needed,” he said.

Standing at 6’1 with a muscular build, Rodriguez’s personality may be even bigger than his appearance.

“He is confident and poised, but he also likes to have a good time and joke around,” said Garrett.

Rodriguez is a Global Wellness and Fitness Major and plans to join the military after school.

“Tyler’s a good leader and he’s cool, definitely cool,” said sophomore wide-receiver Tahj Hammary. “He interacts all the time, and he’s always smiling.”

On November 14, Rodriguez will get to play against those who said he can’t, when Kean travels to Montclair to take on his former team.

With one of those big smiles, Rodriguez said, “I’m motivated by the people who said that I couldn’t play QB.”

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