Football Preview 2016: Mudd excited to be back on field for Judges

Handley's Tyler Mudd, center, walks on the field during a break in practice. Mudd missed all of last season due to an injury. Rich Cooley/Daily

Handley's Tyler Mudd, center, walks on the field during a break in practice. Mudd missed all of last season due to an injury. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER — All Tyler Mudd could do was watch.

Last year, as Handley’s football team went 0-10, Mudd was stuck on the sidelines.The wide receiver/defensive back tore the meniscus in his knee in the preseason and couldn’t play a single down for the Judges.

“It was devastating, because I couldn’t get on the field with my team and help them out,” Mudd said. “Being 0-10 — that’s horrible. That’s going to be devastating for the whole city of Winchester, because we’re Handley High School. …It was really hard watching my players lose a lot of games, and I can’t come on the field and help. I tried to have a positive attitude, but you just got to keep your head up.”

The senior did keep his head up and came through his rehab. He said he was on crutches for six-to-eight weeks. He said he then began rehabbing every day after school.

He couldn’t play basketball last year, but did get back in time to run in both indoor and outdoor track.

Mudd said he felt like everything he went through made him stronger.

In outdoor track, Mudd did the pole vault, which was a new event last year at Handley, and enjoyed it. He won the Conference 21 West title, and just missed qualifying for the state meet by one position.

“Poll vaulting was different,” Mudd said. “You got to have a lot guts to take your body up anywhere from 8-to-15 feet. I didn’t hit 15 feet, but you got to throw your body up there.”

Mudd is excited to be back playing football for the Judges this season. He said he’s happy to just be able to play the sport again after missing a year.

“It feels good,” Mudd said. “Being able to be back on the turf, and running and throwing your body around and just being active feels good.”

Mudd said that he was brought up from junior varsity to varsity as a freshman. His sophomore year he started at cornerback.

He said it was a great learning experience, and he led the team in interceptions.

“Once I got used to playing and getting in the habit, it just became like a natural habit, just knowing my alignment and assignments,” Mudd said.

Mudd started two games at wide receiver his sophomore year, but playing time was hard to come by. Handley had a talented receiving corps that season led by Dontae Mauck, who is playing at Virginia Military Institute, and Justin Washington and Ben Nelson.

This year Mudd said he’s hoping to really shine at wide receiver, and he’s starting to like playing on offense even better than defense.

Handley first-year coach John Davis said Mudd has a lot of ability on both sides of the ball.

“Tyler is our best football player,” Davis said. “We have some good athletes. We have some guys that can do some good things, but when it comes to just football and the things we do inside the lines — hitting, blocking, tackling, catching — he’s our best overall football player. And our guys really respect him.”

Mudd also has a younger brother, Andrew, who plays on the team. Tyler Mudd said the two are very competitive and push each other to get better.

Tyler Mudd said that he would like to play in college, preferably at the Naval Academy. For now he wants to focus on this season and helping turn the program around.

“Last year, being 0-10, is going to be in all our heads until we start the first game and see how the season goes,” he said. “If we get a first win then we’re better than last year already. So that’s our goal, worry about week one and then move on after that.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

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