Tymere Zimmerman Thrilled to Get Started
Bennettsville, SC -- Sunday is the day that Tymere Zimmerman has anticipated for a long time. At noon on Sunday, Marlboro County High’s all-time leading receiver is to report to freshman football camp at Clemson University.
“I’m excited. I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I know playing college football won’t be easy but playing at Clemson is what I have looked forward to for a long time,” says Zimmerman.
He first committed verbally to Tommy Bowden’s program during his junior season at MCHS. Although received with cheers by Tiger faithful, the commitment was not binding and other schools’ recruiters continued to pursue the 6’4” pass catching phenomenon. By his senior year most recruiting experts were predicting that Tymere would change his mind and sign with another school. However, in February of 2001 Zimmerman officially signed a letter of intent to play for the Tigers, apparently closing the issue. A major complication would throw off all of Tymere’s plans and cast uncertainty about his future.
After finishing at Marlboro County that spring, Zimmerman still had not scored high enough on the SAT to attend a NCAA Division I school. He faced the options of sitting out a year while working privately on his test scores, going to junior college or attending preparatory school. To keep his dream of playing for a major college alive and continue to hone his playing skills, Zimmerman decided to enroll at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
For the laid-back, easy going young man, life at a military boarding school was tough. The strick limits, lack of free time, and the distance from family and friends brought on the symptoms of homesickness. Tymere found peace on the football field where he continued to be a standout on a team of all-stars. He led the team in receiving and was named the Blue Devil’s Offensive MVP. By attending Fork Union, Zimmerman’s initial signing with Clemson was negated. He was free to sign with the college of his choice.
Again, recruiting analysts predicted Zimmerman would end up somewhere other than Clemson. Again, he proved those “experts” wrong, recommitting to the Tigers in February. Tymere battled through the temptation to leave Fork Union before the end of the year. More importantly, he improved his college entrance test score, allowing him to enroll this fall.
The road to becoming a Tiger has had many twists and turns for Zimmerman. However, he thinks his trials and tribulations make him more prepared for what lies ahead.
“I wouldn’t want to go through it again. Truthfully, I really didn’t like it but it got me ready for college, both in football and in the classroom,” Zimmerman says of his year at Fork Union Military Academy.
The physical training and mandatory strength workouts have added bulk and definition to Zimmerman’s physique. He is also much more mature thanks to his experience at prep school.
“Being a small town hero, he always had a safety net of people that would take care of him. At Fork Union, he had to pull his own weight all of the time. In the long run, this may very well be the best thing that every happened to Ty,” says Dean Boyd, Zimmerman’s high school coach at Marlboro County. “I know the Clemson folks are glad to have Tymere but I’m not sure they realize what a gem they really have.”
For most freshman college football players, reporting to school is a scary experience. Not for Zimmerman. “After all that has gone in to making this happen, I’m just thrilled to get started.”
Reproduced with permission from Thursday's Marlboro Herald-Advocate.