By Jason Cohen
Tyler Condit fell in love with the pigskin at a young age. The six foot, 240-pound linebacker, who amassed more than 450 tackles during his collegiate career, hopes to play in the NFL.
Condit, 23, grew up in Caldwell, and played football for the first time at the age of five. His uncle, Dan Romano, who coached football at James Caldwell High School for 33 years until 2015, introduced him to the game.
“It (football) was something I always wanted to do,” Condit said.
From ages six to 12, he was a ball boy for the high school team and recalled how cool it felt to be around the older players. He saw how hard they worked and wanted to be like them.
Condit participated in his first football game at seven-years-old and was inserted at linebacker, the only position he has ever played.
He explained his coaches often told him his ability, to find the ball and always see the plays, was rare. So, with hard work, Condit quickly became a star in Caldwell.
“I had always been one of the better players, but sophomore year I really started to get good,” he recalled. “Something just clicked.”
He credits a lot of his success to his uncle and high school linebacker coach Todd Romano, no relation. According to Condit, his uncle treated him like everyone else, which made a difference in him growing as a player.
“Being a leader was always important,” he explained. “I didn’t want to get any special treatment.”
One of the first times he knew he was good was his junior year of high school when he was named one of the top 100 players in the state. At that point, colleges were looking at him.
Being a teenager and having coaches watch him was a bit nerve-wracking, but he played his game and had the support of his parents.
“My parents [Denise and John] have been two my biggest fans throughout the whole process,” he noted.
At the University of New Haven he was a beast on defense. He averaged 10 tackles a game and he even broke the school record of 424 tackles, which had existed since 1987. He won numerous awards in college, including Northeast-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Northeat-10 All-Conference First Team Defense in 2015.
However, his time at Newhaven didn’t start well, as he was redshirted for the first time and sat out his freshman year. This forced him to work harder and show his coaches how good he was.
“My college experience was everything I could have imagined and more,” he remarked. “Looking back at it, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I really contribute my success to that year off.”
He was named an All-American at the end of his junior year and scouts began to watch him his senior year. This was a big opportunity, but he had to focus on winning.
“Once you start worrying about the outside aspect it becomes more of a selfish thing,” he said.
While he was not invited to the NFL combine, he is eager to participate in the Yale pro-day on March 30, where coaches can see him up close. He feels if he does well he has a good shot of getting drafted.
“I’m just going to let everything fall where it may,” he said.