EKU R-JR quarterback Tyler Stafford recently became one of 44 players selected for the 19th annual FCS Athletic Director Association Academic All Star team. Stafford has been a model student athlete since his time at EKU on and off the field.The Eastern Progress had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler Swafford this week and discuss his time at Eastern Kentucky University and what his plans are after football.
Eastern Progress: “Where did you grow up?”
Tyler: “Franklin, Tennessee, a south side suburb of Nashville, TN. I get to go back during the breaks, but not as much as I’d like to visit.”
EP: “Why did you decide to come to EKU?”
Tyler: “I had a lot of different types of choices. It really came down to the division 1 schools that gave me a scholarship. I wanted to play the highest division of football I could. But EKU offered me a football scholarship, so I visited my my senior year and I really liked the coaching staff and the atmosphere.”
EP: “How long have you been playing football?”
Tyler: “Since I was 6 years old. My dad got me into it at a young age and he coached my teams growing up. I also played baseball as well, but I decided to stick more with football. My dad actually made it to every game this season, even Ball State, and my mom made it to most.”
EP: “Why did you chose to play football over baseball?”
Tyler: “In high school, my best friends and I played together and I also thought there would be more football opportunities with recruiting. But I really enjoy playing quarterback.”
EP: “With knowing the risks of concussions and CTEs in football, would you ever let your future son play football?”
Tyler: “Absolutely, I think football is the greatest team sport ever. You learn things about life in general like losing and winning. Accepting challenges and working through adversity.  I think that all outweighs any physical risk that may run.”
EP: “What is one thing football has taught you about life?” 
Tyler: “Football has taught me that no matter what you face, you gotta rely on those around you. You have to be a leader and work through challenges and not get discouraged; persevere and show fortitude.”
EP: “What do you think you will miss most about playing football?”
Tyler: “I don’t think it has hit me yet, but not being there at 6 A.M. with my teammates. I’m going to miss them them more than anything. They’re like my brothers from another mother. We are a pretty tight group who all support each other.”
EP: “So, where do you see yourself in 10 years?”
Tyler: “In 10 years, wow. Well hopefully I will have graduated law school and I’d love to be working in some capacity with international law or international justice. George Clooney’s wife is an international human rights lawyer, so something around that is what I’d like to do once I get out of law school.”
EP: “Why law school?”
Tyler: “Both my parents are lawyers, I’ve grown up around it. When I was a little kid, I would walk around their office charging 25 cents for recycling their office papers. I’ve always loved watching legal drama tv shows. Getting a law degree can also open up to a variety of different avenues. I also just joined the EKU Mock Trial team and figured it would be a good competitive void from football.”
EP: “If you could do it all again, would you chose to pursue a different path?” 
Tyler: “I have always been involved in my church. My grandmothers and great grandmother wanted me to be a pastor. I don’t think I would go into full-time ministry, but I would love to teach Sunday school and be involved with kids and church camps because I have always been involved. I wanna be a camp counselor at our church this summer because I don’t have football, so I’d love to be engaged and plugged in.”
Tyler will be graduating Eastern in May 2017 double-majoring in globalization and international affairs and minoring in business. This fall, he will be going to Northern Ireland for one academic year of postgraduate study with the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program.