By Jimmy Hyams
Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray has signed with Los Angeles-based sports agent Don Yee, confirmed Jeff Bray, Tyler’s dad.
The father said recently that Tyler signed on Jan. 1, effectively ending his college career.
Jeff Bray said the family had four to five in-person interviews before selecting Yee, who represents, among others, New England quarterback Tom Brady.
``It reminded me a lot of the recruiting process for college,’’ Jeff Bray said, ``just a little bit more intense, because now we’re not just talking about a scholarship, but we’re talking about his future and the rest of his life.’’
Jeff Bray said Yee – who was recommended by a family friend – seemed to be a good ``fit’’ and the fact Brady is one of Yee’s clients helped.
``Tom Brady is an incredible quarterback and any time you associate yourself with someone and you create that success, it helps you out,’’ Jeff Brady said.
Tyler Bray had two elite wide receivers at Tennessee in Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson. The fact both have declared for the NFL draft ``absolutely’’ influenced Tyler, Jeff Bray said.
Jeff Bray said there were other variables.
``The new coach, what kind of system (he’d run) and who was staying,’’ Jeff Bray said.
Asked if Tyler didn’t think he fit UT coach Butch Jones’ system, Jeff Bray said: ``I don’t know if it was he didn’t fit coach Jones’ system. Moreso, he (would be) learning a new system.
‘’If (former UT offensive coordinator) Jim Chaney had stayed, it probably would have made a world of difference. Tyler loves Tennessee. He loved the time he was there. It was a hard decision for him to make.’’
Jeff Bray said he’s seen NFL draft projections of Tyler going as early as the first round and as late as the fourth round.
Why the wide range?
``I really don’t know,’’ Jeff Bray said. ``This is all new to me. He’s a very unique individual. I think he’s the best quarterback in the draft, but I’m his father.
``I think once the (NFL) coaches and general mangers sit down with Tyler and meet with him in person, it will open their eyes to what kind of individual he is.’’
Jeff Bray said Tyler filled out application for NFL advisory board review but hasn’t heard back.
The father said the son developed a great deal as a quarterback at Tennessee.
``I think he has an incredible understanding of defenses and schemes,’’ Jeff Bray said. ``He studies an incredible amount. He and Jim Chaney have a great relationship and he has raised some great quarterbacks. And he’s taught Tyler things about being a quarterback – the physical and mental aspects. I’ve seen him grow as a vocal leader.’’
Ironically, Jeff Bray didn’t want Tyler to play college football. Jeff wanted his son – a 6-foot-6 point guard – to play college basketball or baseball. Jeff, who coached Tyler in basketball, said Tyler can shoot ``lights out’’ and has a 90-plus mph fastball with a curve and knuckleball.
Jeff Bray said Tyler joked about joining the Vols basketball team and a UT baseball coach once talked to Tyler about joining the team as a closer.
Jeff Bray said Tyler gets his athletic ability from a distant relative – Jim Thorpe. Thorpe was Native American. So is Jeff Bray. Jeff’s wife is Norwegian.
Since Jan. 1, Tyler Bray has been working out at Athletes Performance in Carson City, Calif.