Hough High cornerback Tyus Fields, who will play in college next season at Tennessee, said he can sprint 40 yards in 4.4 seconds.
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But he admits he’s still not the fastest person in his family.
Fields’ dad, Mark Sr., played in the NFL for the Saints, Rams and Panthers. His sister, Milan, is a sophomore track star at Hough. And his big brother, also named Mark, is a starting senior cornerback for coach Dabo Sweeney’s national championship contender at Clemson.
Mark Jr., Tyus admits, is the fastest in the house.
“Athleticism,” he said, “just kind of runs in my family.”
Tyus Fields is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound ball of muscle and sports long, dyed locks of hair. He’s ranked among the nation’s Top 250 overall college prospects by 247Sports, No. 23 nationally at his position and No. 6 overall in North Carolina.
Asked about his best attributes on the field, Fields smiles.
“My physicality and my cover skills,” he said. “I like hitting people.”
Last season, Fields had 92 tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned 105 yards for a touchdown. He’s one of 16 starters and 35 lettermen returning from last season’s 11-4 Hough team that lost 20-10 to Mallard Creek in the N.C. 4AA state semifinals.
The Huskies added two prominent transfers before the 2017 season — cornerback Jalen Frazier from East Lincoln and quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward from Fayetteville Seventy-First. Frazier and Steward, a Temple recruit who threw for 2,494 yards and 24 touchdowns last season, both return.
And Hough added at least seven transfers this season, including former Mooresville star linebacker Storm Monroe, former Ardrey Kell running back Evan Pryor, a high major-college recruit, and Tim Artis Jr., a 6-3, 295-pound sophomore lineman from Charlotte Catholic.
“They’re excited to be here and we’re excited to have them,” Hough coach Matt Jenkins said of the new players who moved into his school’s district. “Hough’s a great school. This is the school my daughters are going to go to and one of the reasons I came here (is) it’s a great academic institution. ...Our overall athletic programs are very, very good. This is a destination school you want to send your kids to.”
In Fields, Jenkins has a player blessed with rare talent. He received 11 college scholarship offers, which included Florida State, Ohio State, North Carolina and N.C. State.
But did he consider Clemson like his brother?
“I visited Clemson,” Fields said. “I’ve been to a lot of their games, but Clemson was for my brother.”
He said he chose Tennessee over Florida State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
“When I went up there (to Knoxville) and visited a few times, coach (Jeremy) Pruitt was there, and he really brought everybody together,” Fields said, “and he showed me that it was something special. I wanted to be part of it.”
Jenkins said Tennessee is getting a special talent.
“He’s one of those kids who can play any spot in the secondary,” Jenkins said. “He’s that talented. He’s one of our leaders, and our defense really goes how he goes.”
For now, Fields said, his and the Huskies’ goal is to reach the school’s first state championship game.
“This team can go undefeated,” he said. “We have a lot of guys in a lot of areas that we needed to fill. ...We have a lot of returning guys, too.”
So is Hough 2018 better than the state semifinalist Huskies from 2017?
Said Fields: “We’re way better.”
Editor’s Note: The Observer is previewing all 16 teams in its preseason Sweet 16 poll. The order will be revealed before the season kicks off Aug. 15.
Coach: Matthew Jenkins (2nd year as Hough head coach; 43-29 overall).
2017 Record: 11-4
Conference: I-MECK 4A
Key Returning Starters: Tyus Fields, Sr., DB (5-10, 185); Jalen Frazier, Sr., DB (5-10, 180); Austin Robinson, Sr., WR (6-2, 175); Kennique Bonner-Steward, Sr., QB (6-3, 210); Cam Lewis, Sr., K (6-0, 185); Nolan Groux, Sr., WR (5-11, 195)
Outlook: Hough returns 16 starters, 35 lettermen and has added Division I-recruited transfers. After losing in the state semifinals last season, the Huskies are primed for a run at the school’s first state title appearance.