'You never have to question his character': Ty Brock and the injuries, experiences that molded him into a selfless leader
Ty Brock hobbled off the field grimacing in pain after reaggravating his high ankle sprain. A quarterback who had already dealt with a pair of season-ending injuries, Brock knew how it felt to have countless games taken away from him due to injury. It would be a different story this time, however, as Brock returned to the game one drive later after receiving a series of Lidocaine shots.
Brock’s decision to return paid off as he led Sam Houston State to a victory over rival McNeese State on Sept. 28, 2019. He grinned with vindication as he strutted into the postgame locker room mob, teammates and coaches alike admiring his effort and awarding him with the game ball.
Rather than fold from the pressure of rehabbing his setbacks, he turned them into fuel. Brock comes to Central Michigan with two years of immediate eligibility and a willingness to do whatever it takes for his teammates. The victory over McNeese State serves as a prime example.
“You know, I’m excited to get up there and be a part of something big,” Brock said. “It really seems like coach Mac is driving this team to a championship and bigger and better things so I’m really excited to be a part of that and I hope I can help the team in any way I can.”
‘He became the best teammate’
Matt Deberry watched in disgust as Brock, who was a gangly high school sophomore at the time, sprinted 91 yards down his sideline into the end zone. He preached to his defenders that Brock ‘wasn’t that fast’ and ‘not that great.’
Fast forward one year later, and Deberry was blown away
Deberry left his coaching position at Rudder High School for the receivers’ coach position at College Station, where Brock was heading into his junior year. After Deberry got to know his team’s quarterback, he was wowed not just by the quarterback’s knowledge of the game, but by his demeanor and character as well.
“I was just really shocked at how good of a kid he was, how good of a person he was,” Deberry said. “His IQ, his knowledge of the game and defenses, their alignments and tendencies and all the intricacies of the defenses, he understands those things.”
Having shown enough talent in limited action to garner scholarship offers from Houston and SMU as well as interest from multiple power five schools, Brock entered his junior year with high expectations and plans of playing at a high level.
However, his junior year ended before it began. He suffered a broken leg in a preseason scrimmage, sidelining him for the entirety of the season. Things didn’t get any better in his senior year, as he suffered another season-ending broken leg just two games into the season. The major college interest was gone.
“At the end of the day, it seemed that everybody that either I visited or came to visit me all said the same thing,” Brock said. “They said, ‘We love what we see, but we need to see some film.’”
Though the injuries put him through trying times in terms of his future, they also allowed him to see the game through a different lens. He broadened his knowledge of the game through hours of film study and working alongside coaches like Deberry, with whom he has formed a life-long friendship.
“He never was down about it, he never complained, he just constantly, constantly wanted to get better,” Deberry said. “He became the best teammate on that sideline that you could ever think of.”
Brock rehabbed relentlessly to get back on the field. He knew there was a future in the sport ahead of him, regardless of what he’d been through. When the doubt crept in, he reminded himself of his love for the game.
“You know, you definitely approach the game with a different perspective after a couple of injuries because you know it can end just like that,” Brock said. “Obviously there are times where you think to yourself, ‘Is this worth it?’ But football is a game that I love and you know, if I had to do it over again I certainly would and I know there’s more football ahead for me and I’m certainly excited about that.”
Playing for his teammates
Armed with his newfound appreciation for the sport and its vulnerability, Brock enrolled at Sam Houston State alongside roommate and fellow freshman quarterback Eric Schmid. After each redshirted in their first year on campus, the two received valuable playing time as redshirt freshmen.
Brock led the Bearkats to an overtime victory over Central Arkansas in his first collegiate start then became the first person to throw, run for and catch a touchdown in the same game in SHSU history a week later in a 54-21 drubbing of Stephen F. Austin a week later. On the season, Brock threw for 2,417 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was named an honorable mention freshman All-American.
As Schmid began to take an increased role in the offense the following year, the two began to split reps at the quarterback position. Brock suffered his high ankle sprain in a win over Incarnate Word. He was thrust into action against McNeese State the following Saturday despite not practicing during the week after Schmid broke his hand on the opening possession.
“I remember walking in (the locker room), coming back out and he’s taking shots in his ankle so he can go out there and play,” Schmid said. “He goes out there and plays a really, really good game and is the main reason that we won that game. I was really impressed by that.”
At the conclusion of the season, Brock made the decision to transfer. He consulted with his coaches and left the program on good terms.
“My coaches at Sam Houston State, they’ve given me a lot and stayed loyal to me when a lot of schools didn’t,” Brock said. “It just ended up being good timing for me, that I’m graduating and still got two years left to play. After talking it over with my coaches at Sam Houston, they completely understood.”
Schmid, who is the presumptive starting quarterback heading into the 2020 season for the Bearkats, cherishes his time spent with Brock and the friendship they share.
“We went through a lot together,” Schmid said. “Us going back and forth never really messed with us. We supported each other through it all. He was always there for me and I was always there for him.”
Dedication and perseverance
Much like Deberry, Central Michigan receivers’ coach Kevin Barbay was on the wrong side of a vintage Brock performance the first time he met him. Barbay was the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin and had a front-row seat for Brock’s historic performance.
When Brock announced his decision to transfer, Barbay was one of the first to reach out and show interest. After pitching the school and taking Brock alongside his family for a virtual tour of campus on FaceTime, Barbay was able to secure the quarterback’s commitment.
Though Brock doesn’t have much familiarity with the Mid-American Conference other than watching mid-week games on ESPN, he brings dedication and perseverance that can fit with any locker room.
“In the locker room, he’s an even better kid than he is on the field,” Deberry said. “He’s going to do everything right, he’s going to work hard. You don’t ever have to question his character or what he’s about. He has a strong faith in the Lord and you don’t find that a lot in athletes anymore. As you’re recruiting, that’s one of the main boxes that you’ve got to check off first ‘What’s their character?’ With a kid like Ty Brock, that’s an easy check.”
In a summer where the Chippewas have shuffled through options at quarterback, it appears that they may have finally found some clarity. With Brock, the Chippewas don’t just have a quarterback —
They have a selfless leader.