A couple of years ago, Tulane was not even on the radar for Kentwood outside linebacker Cornelius Dyson.
A winning season in 2018 changed his entire outlook, and he became the Green Wave’s first commitment for the 2020 football class this week.
“I really wasn’t considering Tulane because I didn’t think they were a football school,” he said. “I thought they were an academic school, but the coaches have done a great job. There’s been a whole big turnaround.”
Don’t mistake Dyson for a jock uninterested in the classroom. He says he has a 3.7 GPA, considers himself a student-athlete first and believes Tulane has one of the best academic programs in the country. Still, the Wave really became a viable option with its success on the field last year, culminating in a Cure Bowl victory against UL-Lafayette.
The school jumped ahead of everyone else after he attended its private junior day and went to a spring practice on separate occasions. He had offers from the Cajuns, Louisiana-Monroe and Idaho and said he received interest from Virginia, Memphis and Miami among others.
“I love how they (Tulane) lift weights in the morning and they go right to practice afterwards and then they have the whole day off,” he said. “I also like how organized they are. You could tell all the players were into it and everybody was having fun.”
Dyson had plenty of fun on the field as a junior for Kentwood, which beat Oak Grove for the Class 1A state championship in the Superdome after losing in the title game in 2017. His proudest moments were consecutive plays in the red zone when he threw a blocking fullback to the ground before making a tackle in the backfield and had another tackle for a loss.
His goals for his senior year are to get faster (his 40 time is 4.67) and have a much bigger role on offense, where he played sparingly as a tight end last season. He envisions 1,000 yards receiving, 100-plus tackles and five interceptions.
When he gets to Tulane, he is not sure where he will line up in the secondary, mentioning cornerback, nickelback and safety as possibilities.
“They said I’m a jack of all trades,” he said. “I know the last three years they’ve had three DBs drafted. It just felt like home. They really love me, and I love them.”