The All Sports Association congratulates Tyler Russell of Niceville High School for being named the 2016 winner of the Taylor Haugen Trophy. Tyler is the first Niceville High School student to be honored with this prestigious award. Walking the halls of Taylor’s school and playing football on the same field, adds to the overwhelming honor that has been given to Tyler. There are pictures of Taylor in the fieldhouse along with his motto “Don’t Quit – Never Give Up” that Tyler has seen daily as a football player. To be the first Niceville High School student to receive this award is a humbling experience.
Tyler has maintained a 4.52 GPA while lettering in football and baseball during his high school experience. Dedicating his time to academics and sports, he is a participating member of National Honor Society, Key Club, and FCA. He is currently ranked 14th out of 448 students. As a freshman, he placed fourth at the 58th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair after winning first place at Niceville High School and Regionals. He has been awarded the AP Scholar with Honor Award, and the Annie T. Mitchell Academic Honors Award each year. He received the AAA award for football as a junior, and his senior year he received the FCA Legacy Challenger Award, was named to the Northwest Florida Daily News All Area Football Team, and he was voted team captain by his football teammates, six out of thirteen games.
Tyler excels on and off the field as a leader and a scholar athlete. He loves playing quarterback and pitcher where he can “control” the game. As a sophomore, Tyler was a member of the varsity football team that played in the State Championship game. As a junior, Tyler had the unfortunate situation of having two senior quarterbacks ahead of him in the program which limited his playing time. Entering his junior baseball season, he had a minor leg injury which prohibited him from playing the first six weeks of the ten week season. He overcame these setbacks his junior year, and as a senior he assumed he would be the starting quarterback. For whatever reason, God had other plans and as you can imagine, disappointment set in. He continued to work hard at practice and felt that he should have been the starter. Midway through his senior season, the other quarterback was injured and Tyler stepped in and became the leader he had waited so long to become. He took full advantage of his opportunity and ended up leading his team to the Elite 8 in the playoffs. He kept his composure and had the perseverance to keep working hard each and every day. His faith in God, positive attitude, and determination to never give up, regardless of the situation, has remained the driving force behind his success.
Serving his community through clubs and organizations in school is another important part of Tyler’s life. He really enjoys working with younger children and gives back to the community through his involvement with youth sports camps for football and baseball. He values discipline, integrity and an overall commitment to excellence. His inspiration comes from the Word of God as he lives each day to represent Christ to others. Praying for his teammates before a big game or privately, has let others know where his heart is. His faith in God has helped him become the person he is today. Tyler hopes to continue the legacy that Taylor has left at Niceville High School.