Tim Tebow and Tyson Lee – One has a Heisman; both lead in their daily lives

By Brad Locke
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Tim Tebow and Tyson Lee have more in common than you might think. And what they

do have in common is far more important than what they don’t.

The differences are obvious. Tebow’s won a Heisman Trophy, two BCS

titles, and international fame. Whether or not you think he’s an NFL-type

quarterback, he will be playing in the pros next year if he so chooses.

Lee is a 5-foot-10 former walk-on who does not put up gaudy numbers, does

not win awards, and does not run through brick walls. But, like Tebow, he is a

starting quarterback in the SEC.

On Saturday, Tebow and Lee will face off when Florida visits Mississippi

State. Lee said earlier this week that just being on the field with Tebow will

be “a tremendous honor,” and he can’t wait to meet his counterpart.

“Since he started playing college football, he’s been consistent with his faith, been

consistent with the way he plays and the person that he is. You can’t help but

respect a person like that, I would say a man like that,” Lee said.

This is where Tebow and Lee stand on the same level. From what I’ve seen,

Tyson Lee is every bit the man, the role model, the missionary to college football, that Tebow is.

We just hear a lot more about Tebow’s off-field exploits.

Lee’s impact upon the lives of others should not go undocumented. Every

Sunday, he teaches seventh-grade Sunday school at his home church, Fairview

Baptist in Columbus.

“It’s a good opportunity just to kind of give back and try to impact

their lives as much as possible,” he told me a couple of weeks ago in a sit-down


Last year, one of Lee’s pupils was his brother, Trace. He also has a

sister, 17-year-old Tamber. Lee, who spent most of his childhood in a

single-parent home, is doing all he can to steer his younger siblings in the

right direction.

“I try to talk to my brother all the time. He’s an eighth-grader; he’s at

a pivotal point in his life. He’s really kind of finding himself,” Lee said.

“And my sister, being a girl, very protective of her. Love her, she’s a sweet

person, but doesn’t really understand that all I want is what’s best for her.”

Lee impacts everyone he comes in contact with. Following the

gut-wrenching 30-26 loss to LSU a few weeks ago, he was talking with a good

friend, Clark Walker, about what had transpired on the field.

Lee had thrown three interceptions and came up inches short of the goal

line on a fourth-down play late in the game. As he discussed it with Walker,

some friends Walker had brought along listened in.

“They were like, ‘Wow, you’d think he’d be really upset and kind of all

distraught about it. He had a really good head on his shoulders,'” Walker said.

Leader of men

Lee’s had a positive effect on his teammates, too. Receiver Leon Berry, a

junior college transfer, has him

over to his house as often as possible to grill steaks.

“When I first got here, I saw how he worked and stuff and the things he

did, I wanted to get on his back and just follow his lead,” Berry said.

Following Lee’s lead can make you a better person, just the same as

following Tebow’s lead. Now that he’s coached them both, Dan Mullen can clearly

see the similarities.

“Tim has a much bigger public stage that he does it on, but I think if

you look at those two guys and how they go about living their daily lives,

they’re very similar in their characteristics,” Mullen said.

And that’s what matters the most.