Back Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern Great

Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern Great

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The legacy kicker Tyler Bass leaves in Statesboro is a significant one.

With 276 career points scored, the college career of Georgia Southern kicker Tyler Bass has come to a close. It's a story worth telling and a standard that will long remain. Bass, converting all three of his field goal tries in the Cure Bowl, set a new program mark in his final game with 20 field goals made in a single season. Overall, his 54 field goals converted are the second-most in school history. A team leader and reliable playmaker, Bass helped the Eagles win 17 total games the past two years. Five of those, with his contributions often proving critical, came by three points or less.

Impressively, Bass finishes with a career rate of 54-of-68 on field goal attempts and 114-of-116 on extra point tries, including, on PATs, going his junoior and senior seasons without a miss. From redshirting to emerging as Georgia Southern's kickoff specialist and ocassonal punter to ultimately taking over all of the kicking duties for the Eagles, Bass developed into one of the best at his position in the entire country. His efforts will long be in media guides and memories alike.

In Sun Belt history, Bass is just the seventh kicker ever to pass the 275-point total. He is one of the league's all-time greats. Like Lou Groza Award finalist and current Atlanta Falcons standout Younghoe Koo before him, Bass helped Georgia Southern both succeed and settle in at college football's highest level. He, consistently making key kicks and establishing himself as one of the Eagles' best players, earned all-conference honors each of the last two years.

Big moments are what defined the Bass era. The signature kick of his career stands as a now-iconic game-winner in a wild 2018 Camelia Bowl triumph over Eastern Michigan. With Georgia Southern trailing by one point late, quarterback Shai Werts led a dramatic last minute drive that put Bass directly in the spotlight with his team losing and time literally expiring; he, converting on a 40-yard field goal as regulation ended, calmly and convincingly gave his team the win. The clock ran out as the Eagles ran towards their triumphant kicker. Bass was named to the AP All-Bowl Team.

In two bowl games, including Georgia Southern's loss to Liberty in Orlando, Bass went 6-for-6 on field goal attempts. Such efficiency under the bright lights is what you would expect from a player who absolutely earned the benefit of the doubt. Bass was for 4-for-4 against rival Georgia State, 5-for-6 versus rival Appalachian State and, this fall, made a 47-yard try at now-number one LSU and was 2-for-2 at nationally-ranked Minnesota. Steady in the spotlight, he ends his career 24-of-27 on fied goals against FBS opponents with a winning record.   

Though without as much fanfare, Bass also boosted Georgia Southern with his consistency and production on kickoffs. He led all of college football with a touchback percentage of 85.2% in 2017, pacing the Sun Belt at 68.4% in 2018 and, again, ranking in the national top ten in 2019 at 75.7%. Correspondingly, the Eagles have slotted third, 14 and first the last three seasons in kickoff returns allowed per game. Even when Bass wasn't winning games for Georgia Southern, he was preventing other teams from having the opportunity to do the same.

Punting a few times for the Eagles, Bass averaged 48 yards per kick. Making an all-around impact, he even recorded eleven total tackles and a seven-yard pass completion. 

The legacy Bass leaves in Statesboro is a significant one. Notably, his year-to-year career arc at Georgia Southern went as follows; earn a starting job, lead the nation in touchback percentage, rank fourth in the country with a 90.5% field goal rate, set the program record with 20 field goals made. In Chad Lunsford's first full year, the Eagles made one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college football history along the way. Bass, excelling on the field and off, also earned academic honors every single season for good measure. 

Players like Bass are the type of talents who can help serve as a program's foundation. He, though on the field just a few times each game, made a difference. 

A very real chance at the NFL awaits for Bass, who will actually play one more game in a Georgia Southern helmet. He will join heralded cornerback Kindle Vildor in representing the Eagles in the annual Senior Bowl, a scouting combine and game held each year in Mobile, Alabama for some of college football's standout upperclassmen. Bass has earned even more reps to show professional scouts all that he can do, a week which may prove to be a springboard to the next level.

Bass was an extension of the Georgia Southern brand during his time with the Eagles. He wasn't just true, but True Blue.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports