Ga. fullback Tyler Cierski talks Terps commitment
Tyler Cierski says he was just a tall, skinny kid when he started working out in the Mill Creek (Ga.) weight room as a seventh grader.
Now a 6-foot, 250-pound junior, Cierski’s early introduction to lifting has clearly paid off. He was moved up to Mill Creek’s varsity squad as a freshman and has been a fixture in the starting lineup at fullback ever since.
“I use my strength a lot,” said Cierski, who squats 575 pounds, power cleans 340 and benches 300. “If I need to, I can juke somebody out. I guess I could gain some weight, but the only thing is I have to keep my speed, which shouldn't be a problem. I'm pretty happy with my weight right now.”
The Maryland coaching staff, evidently, is also pleased with Cierski’s size. The Terps were the first program to offer Cierski a scholarship, and on Sunday night, the Hoschton, Ga. resident and Long Island, N.Y. native became UM’s seventh commitment of the 2011 class.
“It feels good,” Cierski said. “I called Coach [Ralph] Friedgen at 8:30 [Sunday] night. He was happy about it. He welcomed me to the family and accepted my commitment. He was very excited.”
Cierski first emerged as a Division I prospect as a sophomore, rushing for 424 yards and six touchdowns on 75 carries, and catching eight passes for 62 yards.
Cierski suffered a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of his junior year, but he still managed to rush for 327 yards and four touchdowns on 82 carries, and catch four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown.
“[The Maryland staff] said they liked the way I can run the ball and the way I can block, but the thing they like most is the way I can catch the ball,” he said. “That's the thing I'll be used for. Despite the injury, I didn't have any dropped balls this season and every catch was over 20 yards.”
Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis said Cierski’s size, speed and body control sets him apart from other high school fullbacks. Cierski, who runs a 4.79 40, basically has a ready-made physique for college football.
“We really knew early that he was a strong kid, but when you get him on the field you see just how agile he is,” Jarvis said. “He's been clocked as fast as a 4.7 40. That kind of speed for someone his size and strength is rare. You don't really see it or think about it until he gets on the field, and then he just goes. With his agility, you can just imagine with his size, people just bounce off him. He has tremendous speed. He's not sluggish. He has great feet and cuts. Sometimes we'll run the counter and he runs that very well because of his cutting ability. He does a little bit of everything well.”
Cierski has four cousins who live in Frederick and another two who live in Burtonsville, both of whom are Maryland graduates. While Cierski was familiar with the school, he never expected the Terps to come down to Georgia to recruit him. Jarvis, however, has grown accustomed to Maryland coaches heavily recruiting the Atlanta metropolitan area.
“Maryland's coming in and they signed the kids from Norcross High, D.J. Adams and Max Garcia,” Jarvis said. “They're doing a great job getting kids that have traditionally gone to other schools closer by. They've done a great job coming in, identifying players and getting them. They build relationships pretty quickly. I think Maryland has done as good a job as any.
“The two from Norcross are just fine young men. They're getting early commitments and upholding those commitments. I think the whole staff, they really build a great rapport with the coaches down here in Georgia. The first thing when they started recruiting Tyler, I talked to Coach [Keith] Maloof, the Norcross coach and a good friend of mine, and he just raved about them. That's all I needed to hear. They've done such a good job. They tell it like it is and have opportunities. Maryland's doing a great job.”
Cierski, who was also recruited by Georgia, South Carolina, Princeton, Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia Tech, plans to study kinesiology at Maryland. He hopes to make at least one trip to College Park this summer, and then concentrate on his senior year.
“It's definitely nice [to have made the commitment],” Cierski said. “There's no pressure for my senior season. I can just have some fun.”