Our Stories: The Place for Me

Dec. 10, 2015

To my family,

It is with sincere disappointment to inform you that earlier this week the NCAA denied me of a sixth year of eligibility to continue playing football. While I respectfully disagree with their ruling, I sincerely thank them for taking my case under consideration.

I asked the Georgia Tech Athletics Association to release this personal statement on my behalf in order to have the opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to several people who have helped me through an emotionally draining season of football. What I also mean is a season of “life”, as I am currently learning those two phrases are synonymous. God has blessed me with far more favor and opportunities in my life than I could ever ask for. His grace and power have provided me with this unique season, one in which I was able to see what it truly means to trust in His will.

When I tore my ACL practicing for Tulane, I was distraught and devastated as to how my final season in a Yellow Jackets uniform was panning out. In the moments that followed, I quickly realized what it meant to be a part of the Yellow Jacket family. You welcomed me into this program with open arms after transferring from Middle Tennessee my freshman year. We have been through many highs and lows, with one of those lows being a loss against MTSU. But never, not once, did I have an ounce of regret in my decision to join the Georgia Tech family. I knew Georgia Tech was and is the place God intended for me. The unconditional support you displayed for me and my teammates during this unfortunate season has stood as a true testament to our program’s “Together We Swarm” mantra. I encourage all of you to move forward with this same sentiment and spirit. It will undoubtedly fuel this football team in the off-season as they seek to rebound.

There are specific individuals during this past season I owe a genuine and gigantic thank-you to. First I would like to thank Tech alum Karl Dasher, the North American CEO of Schroders. Days after my injury you reached out to me personally and it has turned out to be quite a blessing. You took me under your wing in my career search as my December graduation date drew near, and I am confident I will be placed on a path to success in my future business endeavors. Karl, your care and generosity exudes and exemplifies the strong, successful, and selfless alumni base that Georgia Tech proclaims.

“The unconditional support you displayed for me and my teammates during this unfortunate season has stood as a true testament to our program’s “Together We Swarm” mantra.”

Secondly, I want to thank the Smith family of Savannah, Ga., for endowing my scholarship. I came to Georgia Tech as a walk-on before earning a scholarship two seasons later. My parents and I are grateful for the opportunity to represent your family on the field and in the classroom. It has been a true privilege. I sincerely thank you for your kindness and overwhelming generosity.

Next, I want to thank Professor Bill Todd. Your passion for Georgia Tech in the classroom has shaped and inspired my ambition to join you in the highly regarded alumni base Georgia Tech instills. I would also like to thank our team orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Xerogeanes (Dr. “X”) for repairing my knee and giving me confidence that I will resume to my normal, active life.

Finally, Coach Johnson. You have been a life coach to me ever since my very first snap in spring practice of 2012 (of which I fumbled). I would give anything to play one more season under you, but I feel more than prepared to enter the real world. My comfort and peace is in large part due to your ability in helping me realize what it means to be a selfless team player, regardless of what the capacity may be. I cannot wait to apply that mentality to the business world. I will never forget you pointing at me on goal line/short yardage situations and saying, “You’re in. Heavy Right 28 Solid Rebel.”

And the biggest thank-you of all is to the Yellow Jacket nation: student, professor, fan, and alum. Being sidelined this entire season has given me the chance to develop a deeper respect and admiration for your support. I will never forget my time walking down Yellow Jacket Alley or running onto the field behind the Ramblin’ Wreck. Though never a primary starter, my hope is that I represented the prestigious Georgia Tech uniform in such a way that made you proud, despite the circumstances that made it difficult to do so this season. You all are the greatest and I now look forward to joining you as we begin to support next season’s team in Ireland.

Go Jackets and THWg. Always.

Tim Byerly # 18

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