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PEOPLES’ PICK: Champ big man headed to MTSU

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 8:27 am

Post Photo by Mark McGee Lantz Peoples signs his letter of intent to play football at MTSU.

When Lantz Peoples first stepped on the field at Cascade High School, he told then Cascade High football Coach Jake Tyre his goal was to one day play NCAA Division I football and eventually the NFL.
At 6-foot-5 and 400 pounds, Tyre wasn’t sure what Peoples’ high school future would be like, much less a college career.
“When he came over here as a freshman he was a big, big kid,” Tyre said. “We had him make some adjustments and got him used to how we played football. He’s a big kid now, but he his better proportioned.”
To fulfill a dream takes hard work and Peoples was willing to pay the price to meet his goal. Not everyone is up to such a task, but Peoples started a program and has maintained it losing more than 70 pounds and increasing both his speed and agility.
“He progressed throughout his time here,” Tyre said. “He took his game from being a big offensive lineman to being a really great offensive lineman.
“Lantz is now starting to see the potential of what he could be. He has lost a lot of weight. He has his diet right. He is getting in shape. He is moving a whole lot better.”
His reward was signing to play football for Middle Tennessee State University, one of several schools who recruited him.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger,” Peoples said. “I feel like if I pursue it hard enough and work hard enough, I can make it to the NFL and take care of my family.
“I knew if I wanted to make a football a career I had to change the way I acted, the way I ate and the way I think. I had to change my whole thought process in general and I had to change my body.”
With the help of a specialized nutritional program developed by Shelbyville’s BYT, Peoples lost the weight.
“BYT did all his meals for him,” Tyre said. “He has been eating their stuff for three years now.
“He took control of his body. He got in shape. It takes a lot of discipline and self-control and that is hard for a teenager. He is the epitome of ‘this is what I want to get to. This is my dream.’ Now he can say. ‘I’ve got my goal. I’ve got my dream’.”
Peoples developed into not only an improved physical specimen, but became a player who terrorized opposing players with his relentless pursuit. He has become a true into a “search and destroy” offensive lineman.
“Lantz is a bruiser,” Tyre said. “He has a football mentality. He does his job.
“He is now starting to see the potential of what he could be. When he is playing football he gets in there and gets after it. He is a great ball player. He works, works and works.”
Off the field he is a different personality. He is a member of the Spanish Club, Future Farmers of American and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has also spent time working with younger players.
“He is a gentle giant,” Tyre said. “He can turn it on and turn it off when he is not playing football.”
“Lantz is an all-around great kid. He is never in trouble. He is going to do some really good things.”
He and his father spent most of the summer on the road visiting schools as far-ranging as Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to South Dakota State to area teams like Tennessee Tech, North Alabama. Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Austin Peay, Memphis, UT-Martin, Western Kentucky, Bethel and Cumberland.
He made a major impression on scouts during practices for the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He served as a team captain.
Only hours before he officially signed with MTSU, coaches from other programs were knocking loudly at his door. But Peoples was not swayed by last minute pleas.
“I love coach (Derek) Mason and his staff at MTSU,” Peoples said. “They care about you as a player and they care about you as a person. They want the program to be the best. I am ready to be a part of that goal.”