Tylar Wiltz was doubted his entire collegiate career, all the way up the ranks until he reached the Power Five level at Pitt, and he used that doubt as motivation every step of the way.
Wiltz, a linebacker who spent his final season of eligibility at Pitt last season, wasn’t selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, he camped with the Pittsburgh Steelers at minicamp and now he’s finally headed up north.
The Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League announced Wednesday that Wiltz has been added to the RedBlacks’ extended practice roster.
“No one thought I could do it,” Wiltz told PSN in May. “I’ve been told multiple times I couldn’t play anything besides Division III ball. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t big enough, fast enough, and I showed that I can do it, and I want it to be a testament to others to say like, ‘Hey if you don’t give up, it can be done.’”
— DeddyKane🥴🥴 (@tylarwiltz) September 13, 2023
Wiltz took a winding path to get to where he wanted to be, including stops at Southern Arkansas (Division II), Butler Community College (JUCO) and Missouri State (FCS), but he capitalized on an FCS All-American season to come to Pitt.
In just a season at Pitt, quickly adapting the playbook and earning the respect of his longer-tenured teammates in the linebackers’ room, Wiltz grew into an impact-maker on the defense.
He racked up 50 tackles (26 solo), four tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, three pass breakups and forced a fumble — capping his lone season with four tackles (two solo), a tackle for loss and a sack in the Sun Bowl win over UCLA.
Wiltz only spent a single season at Pitt, but he managed to find a family at Pitt. And he will always be appreciative of the opportunity — and the experience.
“No matter how tired I was, no matter what we did that day before at practice, no matter how my day was with anything, being able to wake up and go sit in team meetings with Calijah Kancey, Marquis Williams, SirVocea Dennis, Bangally Kamara, the names can go on — and then sitting in the linebacker room with all those guys, it was just always a party,” Wiltz said.
“If you could go outside mad playing on the defense with the different characters that we had, the different personalities we had, you just did not love the sport. You just didn’t want to be there. There was never a day where I couldn’t smile in front of those guys. Those guys helped me become better, and I’m forever grateful.”
Tylar Wiltz will now attempt to fulfill his professional dream, battling it out with the RedBlacks in practice in the hopes of cracking the main roster.