Junior Trevor Conklin on NFL Draft prospect Tyler Conklin: ‘I love my brother’
Growing up, Tyler and Trevor Conklin did everything together. From living in the same house to playing sports together, the two were inseparable.
Now, Tyler has departed from the Central Michigan football team ahead of the 2018 NFL Draft. Following in his footsteps is Trevor, a junior linebacker.
“Family is everything to me,” Trevor said. "Part of the reason I came here was to get closer to him. Being with him taught me a lot about being brothers in this life together. I love my brother.”
When the two were young, Tyler picked on Trevor just as any older brother would. Tyler, who played Division II basketball at Northwood University, often beat Trevor on “thousands” of occasions. Instead of giving up, Trevor kept challenging Tyler to play again.
“My all-time favorite moment (with Tyler) is when we would get super competitive,” Trevor said. “We would freely fight and get after it. After, we would sit there and hug and say, ‘I love you.’ It’s great to know my brother is hard on me but he loves me with everything he has.
“My brother taught me how to be relentless. I’d fist fight him. I would force him to play me again, so I could beat him.”
After averaging 3.3 points in eight games for Northwood in 2013-14, Tyler made his way to the football field as a walk-on at CMU. He attended L'Anse Creuse High School in Chesterfield.
“When I walked-on, not many people thought I’d be here,” Tyler said. “I had a feeling. I took a different route than most people, so that will keep me working hard and sticking to my roots.”
During the first one-on-one drill of training camp in August 2017, Tyler broke a bone in his left foot. As he had been all his life, Trevor was right by his side.
“I always believed him in,” Trevor said. “I just told him he would be back, and his dreams were alive. I encouraged and pushed him. When life gives you adversity, we fought back together. We did it together.”
Tyler, a 6-foot-4 tight end, returned to the field on Oct. 7 against Ohio and caught 10 passes for 136 yards and two scores.
Trevor, watching his brother make 83 receptions for 1,159 yards and 11 touchdowns in his CMU career, said he knew of his brother’s potential before anyone else.
“I know how he is. He’s a fierce competitor and I knew he would be a great football player,” Trevor said.
The 2018 NFL Draft takes place from April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Tyler is projected to be a middle round selection, and Trevor knows it will be an emotional day for the entire family.
“I’ll cry,” Trevor said. “It’s going to change his life completely. I always knew it was going to happen, so I feel like he’s in the NFL right now.”
With the 2018 NFL Draft, Tyler said he will remain humble despite the fame in the league.
“When I was young, I saw a lot of people switch up on their friends and family,” Tyler said. “I always told myself if I made it then I would go back to my high school and help the kids. I’m excited to be able to do things for my family too.”
Instead of wearing his former No. 41 jersey, Trevor is switching to No. 83, which was Tyler’s number.
“I play with my whole heart and with every ounce I have,” Trevor said.
Trevor also attended L’Anse Creuse North High School, but went to the University of Findlay to play football his freshman year. After making six receptions for 77 yards in the 2015 season, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound linebacker and wide receiver departed for Mount Pleasant.
“I was very quiet when I came to CMU,” Trevor said. “I said something in practice about Tyler spending too much on his tattoos and my strength coach said that was the first time he had heard me speak in four weeks.”
For the 2018 season, Trevor doesn’t know how much or where he will be playing due to sitting out with an injury during most of spring practice.
Even though Trevor does not know his playing status, Tyler has faith in him to be successful no matter where he is placed.
“He’s the hardest worker I’ve met,” Tyler said. “He’s a great person in general to everybody. He’s motivational and loves to get the most out of everyone. If I could pick one person to be like, it would be Trevor Conklin.”
Trevor, without his brother at CMU, is finally ready to play football with the same joy he used to have in a backyard in Chesterfield.