Brady back where it started
HUNTINGTON - Sometimes, sports offers some poetic moments that can’t be explained.
Such is the case for Marshall University wide receiver Tyre Brady as the Thundering Herd football team prepares to take on FIU at noon Saturday in Miami.
Brady’s range of emotions are wide as he gets set for the final regular-season college game of his career. Marshall (7-3, 5-2 Conference USA) plays FIU (8-3, 6-1) at noon Saturday in Riccardo Silva Stadium, less than 25 minutes from Brady’s hometown of Homestead, Florida. The game also brings him back to the city where his college career began for the University of Miami.
The thought of going back to Miami to play in a game brought a smile to Brady’s face.
“Ooohhh, it’s been a while,” Brady said. “The closest thing we got to it was Boca (Boca Raton, Florida) last year. After that, it’s been a while since I’ve played down there. I’m excited, though.”
To say it is special for Brady is an understatement, given the length of time since he played in his hometown.
Brady’s 2015 season with the Hurricanes produced eight game appearances with three starts. The last time that Brady took part in a game in Miami was Nov. 7, 2015, when he suited up for Miami in a 27-21 win over Virginia.
To find his last collegiate reception in Miami, however, requires some tracking. The ironic thing about it is of Brady’s nine catches during that 2015 season, seven were on the road.
The last time he caught a pass in Miami was Sept. 19, 2015, when he had two receptions for 45 yards in Miami’s 36-33 win over Nebraska. Brady hauled in his first collegiate touchdown - an 11-yard reception - while later adding a 34-yard completion from quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Following that season, Brady made the trek to Huntington and joined Marshall’s program where, after sitting out a year, he has shined for the Herd.
Brady said part of his comfort with Marshall was learning that, even though he was 13 hours from home, there were many players from Florida and his surrounding area in Huntington.
“I had no idea until we actually got up here and I was like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of Florida guys. More Florida guys than I thought,’” he said.
After making a huge impact as a junior last season, Brady has continued his strong play in 2018 with 49 catches for 845 yards and seven touchdowns -- all of which lead the Herd and rank among the best in Conference USA.
Brady’s impact was greatly felt last week in a 23-0 win over UTSA when he caught six passes for a season-best 162 yards with a 37-yard touchdown reception.
Now, the senior from South Dade High School prepares for his final regular-season game, which will take place in familiar territory against many players that he’s known from the area through the years.
It offers a second Homecoming, of sorts, along with an opportunity in what has become a virtual turf war with Marshall’s contingent of Florida players going against against FIU’s heavy dose of talent from the Sunshine State.
Brady said it is a topic Marshall players have talked about extensively as the game drew closer.
“We’ve been talking about it because we’ve got a lot of guys from Florida on our team and a couple guys from Miami, so you know a lot of us are excited to get down there,” he said.
Brady will dress out in the Herd’s white uniform, which denotes they are the visiting team.
He will be in the visiting team locker room, stand on the visiting sideline, and the seats for his friends and family will likely be in the visiting section.
But this guy is no visitor to Miami -- not by a long shot.
For the first time since 2015, Brady is back home for a college football game. And he plans to make himself feel right at home catching passes in the warm Miami air.