Academics play role in Palmer’s decision

As Coach Robbie Ownes pats him on the shoulder, Grand Junction High School football standout Tyler Palmer signs his letter of intent to play for the Colorado School of Mines while his mother Carol, left, and father Jon, right watch.

Tyler Palmer had some pretty fair institutions of higher learning wanting him to play football for them.

Stanford, Cornell and Penn were among the schools that showed interest in having the Grand Junction High School senior join their programs.

He chose to stay closer to home without sacrificing academics.

Wednesday, Palmer signed to play football at Colorado School of Mines.

“I liked the balance of academics and athletics,” Palmer said. “I know I made the right decision.”

Mines began its recruiting effort last year.

“They sent me my first letters the end of last spring, early summer,” Palmer said.

He took his official visit to the campus Jan. 17 and made a verbal commitment one week later.

He’s expected to play defensive back for the Orediggers.

“Right now it’s safety,” he said. “I like safety the best.”

Palmer was primarily a safety for Grand Junction last season but also played running back and on special teams.

Palmer said he’s considering a major in mechanical engineering, with a possible minor in business and economics.

“We probably should have used him more,” Tigers head coach Robbie Owens said of relying on Palmer’s leadership skills as a senior.

Having been an assistant college coach at Mesa State, Owens said he recognized right away what Palmer could contribute to a college program.

“I think the No. 1 thing Tyler brings to the table is his work ethic,” Owens said.

That was something Owens could see from the start of summer workouts last year.

“Tyler brought a lot of intangibles to what we did,” Owens said.

More importantly, Owens said, he wanted to make sure Palmer was making the right decision for himself.

“I know what impact college football can have on these kids,” Owens said.


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