Aug 11, 2016

Tyvis Powell grew up playing ball in Bedford, Ohio, just shy of 140 miles from Columbus—home of the Ohio State Buckeyes and a football program that he had his eye on from an early age. Taking the field with the D1 school meant fame, fortune and a foot in the door to the ultimate playing field—the NFL.

Armed with the personal motto of “Ball Till I Fall,” Tyvis enlisted the help of his high school coach Sean Williams to tackle the challenge. Sean, who quickly became a mentor, remembers first seeing Tyvis, a then baseball player, around campus and knowing that football was where he belonged.

“I said, ‘You thinking about playing football,’ and he said ‘No,” Sean recalls. “So I said, I’ll see you at workouts when your done with baseball, and walked away. ... I left the ball in his court. If he came OK. If he didn’t, I was probably going to go find him and ask him again.”

Tyvis showed up, and it only took one day of workouts to get him hooked, and as he says it, “And I never stopped.”

From that day on, it was all about the Buckeyes. Flipping tires in pouring rain, running routes on sweltering days and going over plays with coach was how Tyvis spent his high school days; his eyes fixated on that red and white jersey.

In 2013, the redshirt freshman Tyvis Powell became a Buckeye-household name when he intercepted Michigan’s attempt at what would’ve been a game-winning two-point conversion. He made it. Tyvis soon became legendary for picking off big plays—squashing a Hail Mary attempt by Alabama that led to a 2014 Ohio State championship, and later, intercepting a crucial Notre Dame pass in the Fiesta Bowl. These plays all led up to the realization that Tyvis’ next play would be in the NFL.

“[He’s a] tough dude who will fight through when it gets really, really, really hard,” is how Sean describes Tyvis’ drive. At this point, Sean had guided Tyvis, all 6-feet-3-inches and 210 lbs., through some of the most grueling training sessions of his life leading up to the three days, seven rounds and 253 picks that make up the NFL draft. 

“How bad do you really want it,” Sean would say. “Don’t think of it as a game. This is your life.”

When the draft came, all that was left was the waiting—in restaurants, on couches, in the car, between naps. This was his chance to change the Powell family name, and lifestyle, so he stayed glued to the news with Sean by his side. Waiting for a call.

But as much as football was a big part of his life, Tyvis never lost touch with the community that supported him. He became a mentor to high school students, athletes specifically, and he even sweated out Round 4 of the draft at a track meet.

Round 4 turned into five, then six, and finally, seven. Tyvis didn’t get a call until after the 253 pick was made in the 2016 NFL draft. Then they started pouring in from Denver, Oakland, Seattle, Green Bay. Tyvis would find his glory as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Seattle Seahawks.

And if that story doesn’t give you the chills, check this version out.

That’s right. Tyvis invited GoPro along to experience all the ups and downs of the 2016 NFL Draft. Get behind the mask and inside the mind of Tyvis Powell as he conquers one yard at a time on his way to the NFL with GoPro’s three-part series, A Draft Story: Tyvis Powell. We are stoked to get inside Tyvis’ world and share what it’s like to lay everything on the line to pursue a dream.