Tyler English signed with Western Kentucky out of high school in 2012, but never had the chance to play for the Hilltoppers after being seriously injured in a car accident during his freshman year. English remained a part of the team these past two years until he tragically died in a house fire near campus in the early morning hours of Oct. 31.
On Saturday, Western Kentucky's first home game since English's passing, the Hilltoppers wore a "TE" decal on the back of their helmets. WKU beat UTEP 35-27, and after the game English's father, Dan, gave a message to the team that will mean more to English's teammates than anything head coach Jeff Brohm could ever say.
Clutching a helmet with his son's initials stuck on the back, English said:
"This place is special. You guys have no idea how special. Everything that has happened to my son, this school picked him up. This school embraced him. This football team embraced him. You guys have a family that no one can break. He never got a chance to step on this field, but he felt like he was part of this family. And he loved you guys. I can't express to you how much it means to me to know that this is where his home was."