Humble and Versatile, Tisdale a Linebacker Recruit to Watch

The Hokies are in hot pursuit of a blue-chip North Carolina linebacker.


With his southern drawl, Kevin Gillespie revealed measurables that make Alan Tisdale a sought-after recruit.

The Walter Hines Page High School football coach, whose teams have reached the state final in consecutive seasons, knows his star linebacker can do it all.

"He's a hybrid-type guy who's got a big frame, long arms is real rangy and he's got the ability to cover," Gillespie said. "I think that's what separates him."

A 16-year-old junior, Tisdale stands at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds. Versatility's served him well.

In his freshman year, the North Carolinian started each game at free safety on junior varsity. As a sophomore, he took the same spot.

An injury forced Gillespie's hand. He needed someone to fill a void at inside linebacker for the varsity club's 3-4 scheme. Enter, Tisdale.

"He's a downhill player," the coach explained. "We said, 'Who's the next best guy who can play there?' It was him and he did a heckuva job."

Heckuva may put it lightly. Tisdale finished the season with 142 tackles – 118 solo – and six sacks, per the Greensboro News & Record.

"I'll do anything for the team," Tisdale said of the position switch. "It really didn't bother me at all."

That mantra also served the Pirates well in 2016.

Gillespie needed better coverage out of his outside linebacker spot, especially in man-to-man situations. He switched Tisdale outside.

"I'm quick so if I take a false step, my speed always helps me out," Tisdale detailed of his effectiveness. "I'm aggressive and I'm a good cover guy. I'm kind of like a rover type."

Virginia Tech first showed interest in the teen through the 2015 campaign. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster's shared his vision for the youngster should he commit to the Hokies.

"He just always been honest with me," Tisdale said of Foster. "He said he can see me in Tremaine (Edmunds') spot."

From a physical standpoint, the fit seems natural. Edmunds is listed on Tech's roster at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds.

Tisdale's made multiple visits to Blacksburg since his initial recruitment. He will return on Saturday for the Hokies' spring game.

"Right when I stepped foot on (campus), I felt comfortable," he said. "I feel at home. I can trust the coaches. Me, (head coach Justin) Fuente and Foster, we all have a good connection."

He hopes Saturday will help further a relationship with coaches and a feel for "how they run the defense."

Humble and respectful, Tisdale's disinterested in the hoopla that comes with his spot on recruitment boards. Yet, the 247Sports Composite ranks him a 4-star prospect and the No. 15 overall OLB.

"I really don't care about the attention like people do," he said. "I'm not a quiet guy but when it comes to football and the attention, I just don't talk about it ... I'm just a chill-type of guy."

Gillespie, whom Tisdale calls a father figure, didn't pinpoint a play or sequence that encapsulated the kid who can rush, cover and rack up the tackles.

Instead, he mentions that reserved attitude.

"He's a great character kid," Gillespie said. "He's not a rah-rah guy, but he's going to come to play every day and he's going to lead by example.

"I think in general, he's such an unselfish kid. He doesn't seek the spotlight. All the attention he's getting, he could care less about ... We moved him to three different places in two years and he's not said a word and in this day and time, man, that's something. He just goes and does it. And he's pretty good at it."

Tisdale expects to give his verbal commitment this summer or early autumn. He said Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina State, Maryland and Notre Dame are his top suitors.


Of the Greensboro products on the Hokies' roster – Kevin Henry, Mook Reynolds and Hendon Hooker – Tisdale singled out Hooker as someone he knows who's tried to sway him to Blacksburg ... Gillespie spoke to a couple points on Tech's involvement around The Gate City ... "Well, I think they were down here obviously when the Reynolds kid was here when (Frank) Beamer was there," he said. "I think here recently they've made a concerted effort to get to this area. It's not that bad a drive ... I've always thought that there are a lot of schools that should hit this general area because there are some good football players and good kids with academics too, so it doesn't surprise me." ... Asked whether he's noticed more presence since Fuente took over, Gillespie added: "I think there's a more concerted effort under Fuente, at least I've seen them more. They were recruiting my running back hard last year and they did a good job recruiting him." ... that running back is Javon Leake, who committed to Maryland ... One of four brothers, Tisdale refers to himself as a "family person" whose inspiration comes from his mother and grandmother.


One of four brothers

Paging TheFifthFuller....

Seriously, love the attitude, impressed by the frame. Excited by the potential, and I hope we get him.

I don't really see backer so much in the film as much as I would think the whip position. Most of his highlights focus on coverage moreso than explosive plays near the line of scrimmage. Very solid player who seems versatile enough to have a chance at multiple spots though.

Holyfucksticks, 6'4 and 211 and can move like that as a 16 year old? When is the early signing period?!

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"


Honestly he's almost identical on paper to Tremaine Edmunds as 16 year old juniors.. Tremaine was 6'4 215lbs as a high school junior and both were 16 year olds ahead of their class. People were more afraid of Tremaine shooting up to 6'6 or 6'7 because of his father, Ferrell, and losing his mobility. Tremaine was super under rated because of his school and it's level of competition but this is Tremaine:
"Recorded 120 tackles his junior season with 17 tackles for a loss and four sacks ... Also had two interceptions, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble as he earned Conference 37 Defensive Back of the Year honors."
I want some more SEC sized linebackers with that level of speed. Sunday guys in the future

6'4" and 211 sounds about right for Bam Bam Kam 2.0

welcome back, Mr Trible. It's been a while since TKP was graced with your writing.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Thanks man, I appreciate that!

Tisdale to me looks like a Mook and Shegog hybrid, which gets me really excited. Could potentially be a backer but looks great downhill and in space. Hopefully he will be our next commit!

Said he's not committing until summer or fall. We want commits NOW!

The sooner the better, but any time before February is fine.