By John Philip Wyllie
Following his record-setting high school career as a quarterback, 2001 Bonita Vista graduate Tyler Arciaga, anticipated fulfilling his dream of competing on the collegiate level as a scholarship athlete at UNLV. It didn’t happen. Arciaga earned his scholarship to the Las Vegas University, but found himself buried for three and a half years in the Runnin’ Rebels depth chart. He was literally left holding the clipboard as he watched other players get the opportunity that he craved. Most players would have given up after several consecutive years of frustration, but not Arciaga.
“It was definitely frustrating after being a big fish in a little pond (in high school) to go over there and become just another guy. It was difficult and it took some adjustment, but luckily I had a lot of support from home and that helped me to get through the valleys. I had a great time there, met some great people and had some wonderful teachers and professors. I can’t say a bad thing about the school. I got a free education and I graduated from there.” The one thing UNLV didn’t provide him however was the chance to test his mettle on the gridiron against other collegiate athletes.
Having secured a degree a business, Arciaga left UNLV and enrolled this fall as a graduate student at Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University. There, he passed for nearly 2,400 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Pioneers and was the cornerstone of their promising rebuilding effort.
“Not many people get second chances and I am grateful for mine. I want to make it worth their while for taking a chance on me. I am grateful for this opportunity and I want to make the most of it.” Arciaga already has despite being on a struggling team with a porous offensive line.
“It took a couple of games to get the rust off,” Arciaga said. While he remained in great physical shape while strolling the sidelines at UNLV, he quickly found that there is nothing like being in a real game situation.
“Whether it is managing the clock, calling the plays in the huddle or whatever, there are a lot of little things involved and it takes some getting used to. After about the sixth game, things started clicking. We were throwing the ball really well and I started to get some protection.”
Arciaga was particularly pleased with the team’s final game of the season, a big win over Robert Morris University.
“It was great to be able to end on a high note and send our seniors off with a positive taste in their mouths. In that game, we had a sophomore step up and catch three touchdown passes. We both seemed to be on the same page. That is definitely a good sign and a building block for next year.”