Tyler Slamans has only versed himself briefly in Western Illinois’ offense.
He just took an official visit to the school earlier this month, and committed to play football there Thursday.
Still, his experience in a multifaceted attack throughout high school encourages the Kaneland senior tight end he’ll be fine. While moving the ball doesn’t figure to be as seamless as it could seem back home, Slamans is confident he can put himself in whatever position he needs to.
“I feel like it has helped with being in a good program like Kaneland,” said Slamans, who navigated an injury-plagued senior season. “I think it’ll definitely help in the future with knowing how to get things done and go out and win some football games.”
Western Illinois, part of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, could use the jolt. The Leathernecks finished 4-8 in 2013 and are seeking their first winning season since 2010.
If the program is to return to prominence, Slamans could leapfrog some friends along the way.
Knights senior defensive tackle Justin Diddell recently committed to fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference school Indiana State, while Aurora Christian senior safety/wide receiver also will be in the conference at South Dakota. Roberts’ and Slamans’ fathers grew up together, and their sons formed a quick bond through faith and football.
“We’ve been together since we were little babies,” said Slamans, who has grown to 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. “Noah’s definitely my best friend.”
Slamans said he had offers from three Division II programs and an NAIA school. He was expecting an offer from Southern Illinois, another MVFC member, but canceled a visit scheduled for this weekend after committing to WIU.
“I really liked it there. The coaches are awesome. They got a new staff last year. They really know what they’re doing, and I can’t wait,” Slamans said. “It’s going to be sweet.”
Slamans plans to study exercise science in the first step toward an eventual career as a chiropractor.