Tyler Duncan did not have to go far to find a college football program that fit.
The 2019 Greenway High graduate started three years as the Demons quarterback and led the team to a 10-2 record – the team’s best finish in several years – with over 2,500 yards and 24 touchdown passes in his senior season. After that, he traveled just a few miles west to Arizona Christian University’s new Glendale campus.
After two games, he was named the starting quarterback as a true freshman, leading the team to a 2-0 record with 567 yards and five touchdowns in his first couple of starts.
“It’s been pretty crazy, but cool,” he said.
Duncan was not expecting to start this season, though it was a goal. He had to wait and earn the spot.
Down 45-0 at halftime at Division-1 Abilene Christian University in week two, Duncan entered the game as a backup. He utilized his foot skills and ability to make plays on the fly. The result was a team-high in passing yards (118), rushing yards (30) and two touchdown passes, the team’s only scores of the game.
“We were already down, so I had nothing to lose. I just kind of went out there and made some plays, and kept going,” Duncan said.
Seeing his production, partnered with an injury to the anticipated starter in the preseason and the respect he has earned from his teammates, ACU coach Jeff Bowen made the choice to give Duncan the starting role.
It was his quickness and football intelligence that impressed Bowen in the first place. In scouting, he saw Duncan making plays and avoiding sacks even when the offensive line broke down, while still having the arm strength to throw accurate balls downfield.
Being from the Glendale area did not hurt, either.
“It’s in our name, we always try to do what we can to find talent in Arizona. The local kids know some of the culture, and it helps them get acclimated,” Bowen said.
Duncan, as the starter, has a newfound responsibility to lead the offense. He has taken it in stride, leading by example.
Even watching just a few minutes of practice, there is no cockiness. He listens well, jokes around with teammates and appears to be just another player on the squad.
“I don’t really do anything differently. I was taught to always prepare like you’re going to play. Now, I just am,” he said.
The two-game winning streak has the Firestorm at 2-2. Starting and winning games has been a great experience for Duncan. Doing it in his hometown with loved ones watching every snap is even better.
“It’s cool that my family can be there. I look up in the stands and see them, and they’re cheering me on while we’re winning games. It’s been a blast so far,” he said.
Duncan leads ACU on a road trip to Oklahoma on Oct. 12 to face Langston University.