STANTON — When Tyler James first played on Central Montcalm’s varsity football team, his coach didn’t think he would be a college football player.
On Wednesday James signed a letter of intent to play football for Ferris State University when he graduates from Central this spring.
“I chose Ferris over my other top choice, Northern Michigan,” he said. “I chose Ferris because I feel like they are going to win a championship and I want to be a part of that.”
What makes James think the Bulldogs will win a title?
“Coach (Tony) Annese wins wherever he goes, and I have a lot of faith in him,” he said. “They also run the same kind of offense we (at Central Montcalm) do and I have a lot of faith in that too.”
This will be Annese’s first year at the helm of the Ferris State football program. James is one of 31 recruits to sign with Ferris, according to the school’s athletic Web site.
James — 6-foot-6, 250 pounds — was a two-time all-state Division 5-6 first-teamer as a junior and senior. He helped the Green Hornets amass an 8-2 record as a junior and a 5-4 record as a senior.
Coach Marty James, who is Tyler’s father also, said he had been through college signings before “but this one is special because it’s my kid.”
“Tyler, when he came into the varsity program was not a college football player,” Marty said. “But Tyler took the challenge of doing everything and more to make himself into a college football player.”
Marty said he’s known Annese for almost 20 years, and agrees that Ferris State is going to do well with him in the head coaching position.
“I am very confident he (Tyler) is going to play for a winner,” Marty said. “He’s also going to play in a situation where he’s going to be a better man when he graduates. That’s the most important thing.”
Tyler said he will play on the offensive line at Ferris, and will take up sports journalism or sports broadcasting.
“High school football is going to be something that I’m never going to forget,” Tyler said. “I enjoyed every moment of it. I felt like I had a successful career here.”
Tyler had to think about what his biggest memory of the football program at Central was.
“One day before the coaches got there it was really muddy and it was a pregame practice,” Tyler said. “There was a soccer ball left up at the field and we all ran around playing soccer and tackling each other. That will probably stick with me for a long time.”
Marty thinks his son will bring a unselfish attitude to the Bulldog football program.
“Tyler is the ultimate teammate. He’s a team player,” Marty said. “He’s going to bring that to the table, and that’s important because if you don’t care about others, it’s hard to care about yourself.”
Marty also said Tyler is “a tremendous run-blocker and that’s primarily what they (Ferris State) do.”