Ty Garland is still a great Spartan even though he no longer strikes fear in the heart of Big Ten Offenses.

Spartan Nation recently spoke with former Spartan linebacker Ty Garland.  Many Spartan fans may remember Ty from his 14 tackle effort against Michigan in his junior year, but Ty’s story doesn’t end with that outstanding game.

Ty Garland may not have been the biggest player on the field when he played in the 90s, but there was no questioning that he had one of the biggest hearts of any player in Spartan history.  Garland said of himself, “I was 5’11” on a real good day and about 215 pounds, so I wasn’t the biggest guy but on every single play you never saw me give up on anything.”  And Garland hasn’t lost that heart either.  When he watches some players not giving their all today, it makes him cringe.  “You can see when guys aren’t putting out the 100% effort, and it’s hard to not run out there,” said Garland.

Garland also reflected on his blue collar reputation.  He said, “For me, every time I got on that field it was all business and I wanted to play my heart out, because you never knew what the coaches were thinking and if you’d see the field the next day.”  As for his favorite memory as an MSU football player, he couldn’t pick just one, but beating both Notre Dame and Penn State especially stood out in his mind.  He said of the monumental victory over the Nittany Lions:  “We didn’t even know what the Land Grant Trophy looked like before that day.”

As anyone who knows him would have expected, Garland hasn’t left football behind him.  Today he works with the Chicago company National Collegiate Scouting Association.  Ty describes his work as “using sport as a vehicle to help kids get a better education.”  He works primarily to help those student athletes who are somewhat overlooked by college coaches.  “So many kids get overlooked, the landscape of recruiting is so different nowadays, the combines and camps didn’t exist in the early 90s so I didn’t have to deal with all that crap,” he laughs when describing the differences in college recruiting today and when he was in high school.  However, Garland doesn’t think the biggest challenge in his work is getting through to the kids, it’s trying to educate their parents.  He says, “Biggest thing that people have to understand is that parents have to be educated more than anybody.  Just because a mom or dad went through this process in the 60s, 70s, or 80s a lot of them don’t realize the process has completely changed.”

Without a doubt Garland is a true Spartan, and spoke highly of the current state of the program.  He had especially high praise for current head coach Mark Dantonio, who was on the staff when Garland was making the turf of Spartan Stadium his home.  When asked about Coach D Garland was clear:  “He was there when I was there, and I think he’s doing a great job with recruiting and bringing on good character kids.  He’s doing a great bang up job, and I think the best is still yet to come”

Ty Garland may not be a name that some of the youngest Spartan fans remember, but he’s one they should learn about.  His tenacity, drive, and heart define what it is to be a Spartan, and Michigan State is better for having had him suit up in the green and white.

*For more on Ty Garland make sure to check out the next issue of Spartan Nation Magazine!