Mike Schmidt’s return pays off for SDSU with the commitment of Tyler McMahan

Tyler McMahan with Modesto head coach Rusty Stivers to McMahan’s immediate left. (Modesto College Athletics)

Aside from Sean Lewis, none of Deion Sanders’ assistants garnered as much attention as offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle last season. Most of that publicity was due to Sanders publicly denigrating the performance of the Buffalos’ line.

When O’Boyle followed Lewis to San Diego to continue their coaching relationship that had begun in 2019, it was met with joy in Boulder and cautious optimism in San Diego. Surprisingly, only a few weeks after accepting the position at SDSU, O’Boyle took roughly the same role at Northwestern.

Lewis quickly replaced O’Boyle with a familiar name, Mike Schmidt. Schmidt coached the offensive line at SDSU from 2012 to 2020 before working at Syracuse (2021-2022) and Mississippi State (2023) the past three seasons.

On Monday, the first public impact of Schmidt’s hire became evident when Modesto College OT Tyler McMahan committed to the Aztecs. Prior to O’Boyle’s departure, SDSU was not recruiting the talented offensive lineman. Schmidt’s return to The Mesa brought McMahan to America’s Finest City.

Tyler McMahan’s commitment graphic. (Credit: X @mcmahantyler70)

“I chose SDSU because it seemed like finally I found a place that reminds of home, and it’s an environment I love,” McMahan told EVT.

Tyler McMahan’s Scouting Report

Among the critiques of SDSU’s offensive line during Mike Goff’s tenure with the Aztecs was the absence of the nastiness that defined Goff during his time in the NFL. Under Goff’s predecessor (Schmidt), SDSU often competed with greater tenacity and physicality. As Schmidt’s first recruit, it is no surprise that McMahan displays these qualities.

Junior college roster measurements are notoriously exaggerated, but McMahan looks his listed 6-foot-6, 290 pounds. Football is made for bigger athletes like McMahan. When he hits someone on the gridiron, McMahan stands out on the field. He moves his opponents backward or knocks them to the ground. The hulking lineman loves contact.

There are also signs of efficiency in his game. His get-off on the line could use refinement under Schmidt’s tutelage, but once he gets going, there are not a lot of wasted movement or extra steps.

Lewis’ offense thrives on pulling linemen that can vary the look of plays at the snap. McMahan looped and pulled frequently at Modesto. It is not hard to imagine him coming down the line and exploding on a defender under the lights of Snapdragon Stadium.

“He was our team captain and two-time All-League selection that was the focal point of one of the top rushing attacks in the JUCO ranks of California,” Modesto Head Coach Rusty Stivers told EVT. “He is long and very athletic (and) has the frame and ability to play professional football. … Tyler has grown into a physical football player that enjoys working on his technique and finishing blocks to the whistle.”

His play in 2023 earned him All-American honors. In December, the California Community College Football Coaches Association Board of Directors awarded him with that distinction.

“All-American is an accolade that proves a player’s perseverance and hard work. and that the player has worked hard to get to where they’re at both strength and technique,” McMahan explained.

Tyler McMahan at Modesto College (Credit: X @mcmahantyler70)

Coming to San Diego

SDSU’s shuffling at offensive line coach started a whirlwind few weeks for McMahan, who listed UCLA, Utah State, and Wyoming as the other schools he considered. Schmidt led the way as the Aztecs’ primary recruiter. His efforts culminated in McMahan’s official visit this past weekend and the announcement of his commitment on Monday.

The itinerary for the visit included a trip to Snapdragon Stadium for a photoshoot, eating at several of San Diego’s finest restaurants, and a stay situated around one of the best beaches in America. Akron transfer Nate Williams served as McMahan’s host. Getting to know his future teammates was a highlight of the trip, McMahan said. His introduction to Aztec nation also impressed.

“I did attend the basketball game against Utah State this Saturday,” McMahan said. “I would say that the atmosphere was plausible in a way that both blew my mind and made me feel like home.”

Lewis also made a great impression on the rising junior tackle.

“Coach Sean Lewis was a pleasure to be around,” McMahan explained. “He was a friendly and straight-to-the-point guy. And that makes me appreciate the time I got to spend around him.”

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Fit with the Aztecs

McMahan joins an offensive line room completely in flux. Williams started 27 games for Akron at guard and tackle since his first season in 2020. He figures have a spot somewhere up front. Ross Ulugalu-Maseuli can also be penciled in at guard or center. Beyond that, there are no obvious choices. Schmidt will have a lot of combinations to choose from as he forms his two-deep.

As it relates to McMahan, both starting tackles at the end of last year are no longer with the program. Their departures leave Christian Jones and Myles Murao as the most experienced returners.

Tyler McMahan at Modesto College. (Credit: X @mcmahantyler70)

Jones began the season as the starting left tackle before getting replaced after six games. Miles Murao started 2023 at tackle for the first two games before sliding inside to guard. He appeared more suited inside and could even be the team’s starting center in 2024.

Williams spent last year at right tackle and could reprise that role for the Aztecs. His experience and versatility will allow Schmidt to line him up wherever he is needed.

McMahan will be competing with Jones, Kyle Stanback, Jordin Sandlin, and Ryan Dirksen for one spot. If two of them prove capable, Williams might be forced inside. Dean Abdullah, Ryan Silver, Saipale Fuimano, and Jonah Rodriguez could also figure into the mix.

The most ideal scenario for SDSU likely sees McMahan redshirt in 2024. He has three years to play two. Spending a season developing could set him up well for 2025 and 2026. However, the competition plays out, he will be a great addition to Schmidt’s room and to the Aztecs locker room when he arrives on campus after this semester.

“He epitomizes the offensive lineman mentality,” Stivers said. “(He has a) selfless, team-first, sincere approach, (and) leads with an outstanding work ethic. … Off the field, he is jovial, light-hearted, warm, and inclusive.”

When O’Boyle left the Aztecs, it opened the door for Schmidt to return to his alma mater. A team captain during his playing days and an assistant when SDSU turned around as a program, Schmidt knows better than anyone the types of athletes who have thrived on The Mesa. That he identified McMahan speaks volumes.

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