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Tigers’ Joyce signs with Air Force

Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 8:47 am

Post Photo by Chris Siers Wyatt Joyce signs his letter of intent to continue his football career at the Air Force Academy.

Post Photo by Chris Siers Joyce was a dangerous weapon for the Tigers, making good on 10-of-13 field goal tries his senior season.

When it came time to pick a college destination, Marshall County standout kicker Wyatt Joyce had the typical thought processes of choosing a college destination to continue his football career.
While plenty of top recruits may be wooed by the pomp and circumstance with Division I football, for Joyce, the ability to pursue a path in the service, as well as play football, made the decision all the easier for him.
Recently, Joyce signed his letter of intent to continue his career at the Air Force Academy.
“It’s everything to me. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to play sports in college, whether that was soccer or football. I’ve really fallen in love with the process of kicking and it’s allowed me to be surrounded by great people, which projected me forward,” he said.
Joyce was a key component of the Tigers’ run to the third-round of the Class 4A state playoffs this season.
He was a multi-faceted weapon for the Tigers, both in place-kicking and punting.
“The weapon he’s been for our team has been unreal. We’ve almost taken him for granted, not just with the kicks he’s made and the points he’s given our team, but I feel like we’ve no doubt had the best field position in the state because of him,” Tiger coach Thomas Osteen said.
Joyce recorded 84 kickoffs during his senior campaign for a total of 4,805 yards, averaging 57.2 yards per kick.
Of his 84 kickoffs, 54 were touchbacks.
He also averaged over 36 yards per punt for the Tigers as well.
He was also Mr. Reliable when it came to extra points and field goal attempts. He connected on 51-of-54 extra points and was 10-of-13 in field goal attempts.
His longest field goal try of the year was good from 45 yards out.
“Whether that would be his great kickoffs, his great punts, just the hidden yardage he’s always given our team, he’s provided a huge weapon and huge advantage that very few high school teams have. He’s going to be sorely missed,” Osteen said.
While he eventually fell in love with kicking, it was the vision of the late kicking guru Coach Tony Johnson that guided Joyce into the art of the position.
“Coach Johnson actually introduced me to it. At first, I hated it. I just stuck with it and loved going out and getting better every day,” Joyce said.
Completely different from other positions on the field, the pressures of kicking certainly make some kickers fold under pressure.
Joyce, on the other hand, uses the pressure and thrives in the situations.
“Being a kicker is amazing. Every other position you’ve got 30 plays to fix something you messed up on. As a kicker, you’re out there maybe five times a game. I love that pressure and just having to succeed,” he said.
Joyce hit the radar of major colleges following a handful of camps he attended last year and after showcasing his talents at an invite-only camp, he was ranked as one of the top kicking prospects in America.
With several schools recruiting him, Joyce had to make a key decision about his college career.
“I had to decide did I want to play football and go to college or go to college and play football—and that’s what I chose was to go to college and play football. Just the education and the service after really stood out to me,” he said.
“It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal anytime anybody can go to the next level. He’s playing Division I football at the highest level of college football there is. He will no doubt fit right in. I think his biggest strength is his kicking accuracy. From a place-kicking standpoint, I think that’s where he can get on the field the soonest,” Osteen said.
While he’s still several months from reporting to Colorado Springs, Joyce looked back on his four years with the Tiger program and reflected on some of his favorite moments with the program.
“My favorite part of football was probably the Thursday night meals. When we would go to the churches and eat. We just built such great relationships with our teammates through that. Just the team bonding experience and getting really close with all the guys,” he said.
Joyce plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.