Due to editorial deadlines, I don’t know if the Hogs won or lost on Saturday. I don’t even know who started at quarterback, but I know this — I like Ty Storey.
Or maybe I like him because he’s a (redshirt) junior. That’s three years worth of standing on the sideline, playing scout team quarterback and wearing a ball cap on game days instead of a helmet.
Amidst our fast-food, viral-video culture, with primetime quarterbacks across the country dropping allegiances to their teams like last week’s news, opting for instant success instead of the long grinding path of hard work, it’s difficult not to admire Ty Storey’s patience and perseverance.
Even going into his junior year—his fourth year on campus, after he’d already earned a bachelor’s degree — Storey still wasn’t given the reins to the program. He battled Cole Kelly throughout the beginning of the 2018 season, finally claiming his spot as leader of the Hogs before the Auburn game.
More than anything, though, I like Storey’s grit. His fire. The way he’s 6’2, 215 lbs (tiny compared to the always-sliding Cole Kelly, coming in at 6’7, 258 lbs) but he’s still going to scrape and claw for every single yard, even if that means taking some hits along the way.
Maybe Storey remembers those three years spent riding the bench. Or maybe he remembers the North Texas game, a game where he never got on the field; maybe that’s why it’s so hard for him to slide. He’s waited too long, fought too hard to go down without a fight.
Whatever it is, I like it.
And that sort of fire is contagious. Grit is foundational to a football program. I don’t care what the SEC announcers, with their makeup, three-piece suits, and multicolored ties, say—when a quarterback lowers his shoulder, it gets the whole team jacked up.
Because that single action shows the rest of the guys their leader is willing to put what’s best for the team above his personal safety. It’s a powerful physical message, and it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes quarterbacks get injured (as was the case for Storey in the Ole Miss game).
But if you think Ty’s learned his lesson, if you think he’ll stop diving across the first down marker, or never again leap headfirst into the end zone—you’re wrong.
When push comes to shove, when the game is on the line, when there’s no time to think, just react, just go off of blood and heart and passion, Ty won’t be able to help himself; he’ll sacrifice his body every time.
Recently, Arkansas’s offensive coordinator Joe Craddock had this to say about Storey: “If I know anything, it’s that he really wants this team to win football games. And I don’t think it matters to him what he has to do to help us win.”
The Razorbacks may not win another game this season. They may win every one. Regardless, whatever future success the Chad-Morris-era Razorbacks incur will be a direct result of the toughness and the dogged perseverance — the true grit — of Ty Storey. He’s out there blazing the trail, one hard-earned yard at a time.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
Photo: Getty Images