As the son of Arlington Bowie football coach Danny DeArman, Vols quarterback Ty DeArman grew up idolizing the likes of past Bowie stars Kolby Listenbee and Russell Hansbrough, who both played in the NFL last season.
Now Ty DeArman and backfield mate Branden Ellis are being likened to those Vols legends.
“He gives us a lot of speed back there,” Danny DeArman said of his son. “There’s been some comparisons of him and Branden to Kolby and Russell.”
The younger DeArman isn’t ready to make those comparisons. “I don’t know about that,” he said.
For now, the junior’s busy forging his own path to success. A wide receiver as a sophomore, DeArman is slated to make his first varsity start at QB in Bowie’s season opener against Flower Mound Marcus on Aug. 31.
“He’s a big threat,” Ellis said. “He can throw and he can run. As an offense, we’re probably going to mix it up, because we can both run and our receivers can catch.”
Last year when he started at wide receiver, DeArman contributed to the Vols reaching the third round of the playoffs. That experience will serve DeArman well this season, said offensive coordinator Nate Van Cleave.
“Having 13 games under his belt as a varsity player, you can’t discount that at all,” Van Cleave said. “And at the same time, he’s athletic enough to go back there and make plays with his legs as well as his arm.”
He should make no shortage of plays. DeArman is excited to go out and throw that first touchdown pass of the season. “It’s going to be awesome,” he said.
But the junior sounds just as jazzed to hand the ball off to his senior running back.
“He’s one of a kind,” DeArman said of Ellis. “He can jump over people, break tackles. He’s good in space. He can’t be caught from behind. He can catch the ball on the run.”
And Ellis has improved at protecting the quarterback. “I think I'm better at blocking than I was last year,” Ellis said.
Those blocks from Ellis can provide DeArman an extra moment to get off a throw or give DeArman running room when he keeps the ball.
“He’s by far our best blocker [of the running backs],” Van Cleave said. “He’s worked hard at that. He’s always had the natural ability to run the ball. But he had to work at becoming a great blocker and he’s done that.”
Whether DeArman and Ellis will match or exceed the greatness of previous Bowie QB-RB tandems remains to be seen. But those current players’ work ethic and desire to succeed is evident.
“We’ve got a lot of heart,” DeArman said of himself and his Bowie teammates. “The leaders from last year rubbed off on some players from this year.”