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‘Locked in': Former Poly star wideout Tyrese Chambers takes unique path on football journey

Wide receiver Tyrese Chambers was lightly recruited at the Division I level coming out of high school at Poly. Now, he's committed to play football at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Wide receiver Tyrese Chambers was lightly recruited at the Division I level coming out of high school at Poly. Now, he's committed to play football at the University of Texas at San Antonio. (Kyle J. Andrews)

Tyrese Chambers walks onto the football field at Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson for his daily workout. The University of Texas at San Antonio commit begins with some drills, working on his footwork and torching the younger defensive backs who he trains with one-on-one.

It’s all a game built on tenacity and hard work, but it’s been an especially unique path for the former Poly star. He has made two stops at junior colleges and another at a Football Championship Series school before finally getting a chance at the highest level of college football.

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Chambers started playing football with the Rosedale Cowboys, a youth program that shaped his positive outlook. He won four championships with the Cowboys and continued his high school career at Poly, where he says he “struggled” in his first two years — recording 14 catches for 195 yards and four touchdowns in his sophomore season and 23 receptions for 346 yards and seven touchdowns in his junior year.

It wasn’t enough. So, he began working with PJ Quarrie of The Foot Doctor Sports and got to work.

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“I met Tyrese his senior year earlier that summer and we were doing dropping sessions and he said ‘I just really want to be consistent,’” Quarrie said. “He felt like the work could help him if he locked in and set a schedule. From there we started seeing success and remember when I was teaching him speed at the time — it wasn’t any skill stuff or whatever.

“When he first got down there he was like ‘They just clocked my 40 [yard dash]. I just ran a high 4.4 [seconds]. I’ve never run anything under a 4.5.’ That’s when he was like ‘When I come home, we locked in.’”

At Poly, Chambers became an all-state wide receiver in his senior season in 2017, putting up 1,175 yards and 17 touchdowns on 51 receptions. However, he didn’t garner much interest from top-tier college programs because of what he thought is a stigma against players from Baltimore City.

“Us being from this area, it’s a lot of coaches and politics [that make] people sleep on us and the talent that we’ve got here because of the violence in our community,” Chambers said. “So, they think that we’re probably not focused on football and things like that. But it definitely opens doors for Baltimore City kids because they’re [coaches] respecting me and where I’m from. They’re also going to be respecting the kids coming up behind me, too.”

He had his work cut out for him, having to prove himself on and off of the field with a chip on his shoulder. On the field, his high school accolades gave him the chance to be named to the Baltimore Touchdown Club All-Star Game and the Maryland Crab Bowl. He played both games within a day of each other.

As a college freshman, he landed at Tyler Junior College in Texas. After redshirting, he went to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, where his former trainer C.J. Fisher took a coaching position. During his time there, Chambers had a 3.6 GPA and grilled his teammates on the field during spring ball. While not playing a down at either school during the fall, he transferred to Sacred Heart.

Chambers immediately shredded defenses in the Football Championship Subdivision, putting up 50 receptions for 811 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games during his freshman year, earning him an All-America selection. Fisher always believed that Chambers possessed enough talent to be one of the best on the FCS stage.

“He was just under-recruited basically,” said Fisher. “A lot of guys — I don’t know why, but if you know football, you know that there are a lot of good kids out here. If you’re all-state, it’s a good chance you’ll go FCS or JUCO. I knew that he’d be an All-American [at] the FCS because I know that he could play at the highest level.”

After having a breakout freshman season, Chambers decided that it would be best to enter the transfer portal. He contacted Fisher to compile his film and send it off to Football Bowl Subdivision and FCS coaches alike. Soon after, the young wideout drew offers from Ball State, Coastal Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe, Tennessee-Martin, Toledo and UTSA.

“I always dreamed of being an FBS wide receiver and producing on that level in front of scouts,” Chambers said. “My ultimate goal is to get to the NFL and of course there is a better opportunity for me to be seen in front of them [at the FBS level]. The crazy thing is that I have three years of eligibility as an All-American, but some schools still slept. I didn’t get an offer until last month [July] and I’ve been open for recruitment for five months now and I only had that one offer from UTSA.”

He felt like some Power 5 schools (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) “dropped the ball” with his recruitment. But he felt a kinship with UTSA — being constantly counted out despite being within a football haven in Texas and being seen as the younger brother to Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and other schools in larger conferences. On July 25, Chambers made his decision to commit, playing for head coach Jeff Traylor’s Roadrunners.

Chambers is keeping up with his training during the offseason during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused him to reevaluate what he wants to accomplish as a player and a leader in Baltimore’s athletic community and beyond. It also hampered his ability to be viewed by other Division I coaches in-person. Nevertheless, he’s carrying on with an upbeat attitude and striving to be “the best football player and man” that he can be.

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“It’s a blessing because it actually made me look at life differently and gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family and just do things outside of football that I wasn’t able to do at first. It’s also a blessing because it made me fall in love with the grind,” he said. “Ever since COVID-19 came, I’ve been training like crazy — lifting every day because there’s nothing else to do. It’s a curse because it hurt my recruiting process because I can’t take visits, I can’t come up on campus, coaches can’t see me because of coronavirus.

“At the end of the day, the film doesn’t lie. If a coach watches your film and they like you, I think they should pull the trigger. Everything else will play out itself.”

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