Maverick student athlete feature: Ty Dennis

The Minnesota State Mavericks football team have a reputation for running the ball and winning games in the trenches. That means that a standout receiver in the Mavericks’ system has to be an exceptional athlete and big contributor. That is exactly what Ty Dennis is and has been over the past two seasons for the MNSU offense. Now he is ready to help his team one last time, as a senior for the Mavericks.

“This year I just want to be more consistent; really focus on eliminating all the drops I had last year, helping in the running game and really being that dominate blocker on the outside,” said Dennis on his 2017 goals. “Just get the job done, stats really don’t matter to me. I just want to win and get to the playoffs.”

The 6’5” wide-receiver put up a career-high 793 yards in the 2015 season. Recording over 100 yards in three games and posting a season-high game of 153 yards and two touchdowns, snagging six scores throughout the season. In 2016, he posted a career-high in touchdown receptions through a season, grabbing eight touchdowns and paired it with 630 yards. Dennis has proven he will grind to get better every year; now he needs to improve despite the number of turnovers the offense has seen from 2016 to 2017, especially at quarterback.

“I’m the type of guy that’s going to pull the younger guys to the side and say ‘Hey relax: you’re out there for a reason and you’re going to make the plays. The coaches trust you just relax’,” said Dennis on the coaching-up of young players. “I have faith in all of our quarterbacks, all of our running backs and all of our receivers that they will go out and make these plays and it is just a matter of them believing in themselves.”

As Dennis has moved through the ranks from a redshirt-freshman, to a practice player, to a star receiver and finally, to the leader and vet, he reflected on the road to get there.

“It’s kind of weird to think that I’m a senior. [When] I was redshirted I learned a lot; went up against a lot of high-quality guys that were three or four-year starters. My second year I wasn’t on the traveling team and had to go up against the number one defense every day,” said Dennis as he reflected on the early years. “That was the year we went to the National Championship, and looking back on those two years it kind of sucked, but not playing made me who I am today and I’m thankful for it.”

Dennis also shared how football has impacted his life in a positive way off the field, helping build character and work ethic. Skills that would carry through his entire life, not just on the field.

“I’m more comfortable with who I am and I try to live my truth every day. I know I’m [going to] go in and whether it’s school [or] football, I’m going to work hard,” said Dennis. “I try to be one of the nicest guys on the team, so I think football has taught me respect, discipline– all those life-long, core values and I think it translates into my everyday life. So as fortunate as I am to play college football, it has also taught me a lot of things that will carry over to regular, everyday life and I’m thankful for that.”

After joining the team in 2013 to his final season in 2017, Dennis has had plenty of time and experiences to make memories as a Maverick. He shared a couple of moments that he will carry with him forever, from his time on the Mavs football team.

“Even though I didn’t get to play in the National Championship, to experience it from a player standpoint was awesome and getting to experience a Division-I bowl week down in Kansas City for a whole week was a lot of fun. A lot of memories were made,” said Dennis. “From a game standpoint, two years ago against [Minnesota Duluth] my first touchdown came when we were down 17-3 at the half and in the third quarter it was my first catch, first touchdown, first flag all in one play. I got an excessive celebration penalty after spiking the ball, I didn’t even plan to [spike the ball] but emotion took over. It is just awesome looking back and watching the sideline just erupt, everyone jumping up and down, all the other receivers greeting me in the end zone, it was one of the best moments of my life.”

Thank you, Dennis for your contributions to the Maverick football team and community. Good luck in your final season and go Mavs!

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