A lot has changed for Tyler Potter since he began playing Pop Warner football at age 7. For starters, he’s grown older and taller and now attends Monomoy Regional High School, where he plays for the Sharks’ football team.
As much as some things have changed, however, other aspects of Potter’s life have stayed the same. That includes the dream he’s maintained since he was a youngster — the dream of one day playing college football.
Potter came one step closer to fulfilling his goal last week when he committed to attend and play football at Westfield State University during a signing ceremony held at Monomoy Regional High School.
“I’m super excited,” Potter said. “This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I started playing football. I’m happy I’ll be able to continue to play football because I love it. I’m just grateful.”
The Harwich resident considered other colleges and universities before ultimately choosing Westfield. It wasn’t that hard a decision, though, because Potter instantly formed a bond with Owls secondary coach Sean O’Brien.
In addition to his relationship with O’Brien, Potter also felt Westfield State was the best fit academically as he pursues a criminal justice degree.
“I liked Westfield because I got really close with the coach, Coach O’Brien,” said Potter. “I did with other colleges, too, but I felt like Westfield really clicked academically with what I want to study, and their sports are decent, too.”
Another benefit about attending Westfield? The university’s geographic location will give Potter an opportunity to return home to the Cape when he needs to. The Division III program also competes in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference, which means Potter will have an opportunity to play the bulk of his games inside state lines.
Now that he’s fulfilled one dream of joining a college football team, Potter is already looking forward to what he’s going to accomplish once he suits up for the Owls.
“I told Coach O’Brien, I was like, ‘I’m going to be captain of this team one day,’” he said. “That’s one of my goals for when I get there. I just want to play ball and I’m excited to go.”
Nobody around Monomoy will be surprised if Potter does eventually become a captain at Westfield State. Monomoy head coach Larry Souza said Potter has been a leader on and off the field during the past two years he’s served as a team captain.
“He’s been a leader and a captain for the past two years,” Souza said. “He and Justin Sneed have kind of been the glue that has helped the program during the offseason, especially this year when we didn’t know if there would even be a season or not. He’s very dedicated and he’s a kid that has always wanted to play college football, so we’re really happy for him to have that opportunity.”
Souza noted that Potter has made the most of his final season with the Sharks, a challenging undertaking for the senior given the uncertainty the program has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team had to miss two games while in COVID-19 protocols, though it is scheduled to close out its season at home against St. John Paul II at 5 p.m. Friday.
For Potter, who plays wide receiver and running back on offense and cornerback on defense, playing one last game for Monomoy will be sentimental.
“It’s definitely been bittersweet playing this year with COVID,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to enjoy every moment on the field. I can say I gave it my all to help this team get prepared.”
After Friday night, Potter’s football focus will shift to Westfield State University and the Owls’ program. Although he’ll have to wait until the summer to arrive on campus and begin working, Potter is already eager to compete and get acclimated with his new teammates
“I’m looking forward to the competitiveness,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to building bonds with the other guys, because ultimately that’s what football is all about — getting close and growing with your teammates."
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org