Despite an offensive line featuring four new starters, the Harlan County Black Bears currently lead the state in rushing. As the lone returning starter along the offensive front, much of that success can be credited to Tyler Ely.
“I think the other kids look up to him a lot because he did play some last year. It is really important to have a senior on the offensive line,” said Harlan County coach Tom Larkey. “Tyler is a quiet leader. He is not an outspoken person at all. He just does what he has to do on the line of scrimmage and does his job well.”
The senior tackle has been a constant for the Black Bears this season. Ely started all 10 games in the regular season, and his experience and leadership have helped to create one of the best lines in southeastern Kentucky and arguably the state.
“I knew they could all step up and take the role that they have. It has been fun,” Ely said.
Much of Ely’s success on the field can be credited to the work he puts in during the offseason and in the weight-room.
“He has gotten a lot stronger, because he never misses a day of weights. Commitment is one of his big traits. His dedication in then offseason is outstanding,” Larkey said. “You can always count on Tyler to be there and work his butt off every day. He is one of those kids that really works hard in the offseason and does whatever it takes to help the team win.”
Ely’s relentless work ethic serves as a good example for his teammates.
“I just go out and go hard in practice every day and try to lead by example. I have to go in the weight-room and work harder than everybody else, because it doesn’t come as easy to me. I just want to work as hard as I can, and hopefully everybody else will to,” Ely said. “I think that I need to try as hard as I can at everything that I do.”
That dedication has also carried into the classroom.
“He is a wonderful kid. Tyler is a great student. He’s the type of kid you would want to have in class,” Larkey said.
Ely and the Black Bears will begin postseason play Friday at home against Lincoln County.