It’s over now
The lyrics to Kirk Franklin’s “The Storm is Over Now” sum the circuitous route Tyron Laughinghouse took from Greenville Rose High to St. Augustine’s.
Fittingly, that’s what the standout receiver listens to before taking the field as the senior leader of the Falcons.
For Laughinghouse, the clouds of uncertainty have lifted. He has a fresh set of downs ... with goals to go.
Laughinghouse almost dropped out high school. He was held back one year, and his grades were so poor he wasn’t eligible to play football after his sophomore year at Rose. He wanted to go to East Carolina but couldn’t qualify.
“Just me being hard-headed, I guess,” he said about his struggle to make it through high school. “I wasn’t listening, just skipping classes.
“Coach (Michael) Costa gave me a chance here.”
He wrapped his hands around it as if it were a tight spiral thrown toward the pylon.
Last season he led St. Augustine’s with nine touchdowns, eight receiving and one punt return, and recently was tabbed as one of three CIAA players to watch. Playing professionally isn’t out of the question.
But nobody ever questioned the athletic ability. He also played two seasons of basketball at St. Augustine’s. The real evidence of change is that he’s just two classes from earning his degree in Sports Management. Now, at age 24, Laughinghouse serves as a mentor and role model to a 21-year-old friend he treats as a younger brother. He is the Falcons’ unquestioned leader, an almost unthinkable title three or four years ago.
“Here’s a guy who’s very athletic and he gives you everything he has. Even when he’s hurt,” Costa said. “That builds up your morale, but it builds us up as well. We’ve been blessed to have a guy like that with his attitude who leads our team.”
When talking about the team, Laughinghouse speaks more like a coach than a player.
Often referring to his teammates as “they,” Laughinghouse said some of his closest friends have graduated. He now lives alone in his own dorm room.
“Besides practice and school, usually I just listen to music, watch some TV, and get some sleep,” he said. His music interests include gospel music, but also a mix of rap songs from Lil Wayne, French Montana, and Meek Mill.
In between practices and class, Laughinghouse stops by Costa’s office on a daily basis.
“I tell him how the team looks at practice, just what I feel,” he said.
Quarterback Teddy Bacote seems to suggest the contrary. The junior describes Laughinghouse, a two-time captain, as the player the team follows.
“He’s a great leader and he puts the team first in every situation,” Bacote said. “And just having a guy who’s that hungry and who works that hard can only benefit the team.”
From near high school dropout to mentor and college football standout, Laughinghouse has other things on his mind before the NFL.
First things first, he wants a CIAA championship and his college degree.