In 2021, during his last year of NCAA eligibility Tyler Sumpter punted for West Virginia University 52 times, including one that went 72 yards, averaging 43.5 yards per punt. He was looked at to be one of the best punters in the Big 12, but punting isn’t all he was known for during the 2021 season with the Mountaineers. While placing his punts inside the 10 yard line consistently for the Mountaineers, Sumpter was also editing and producing some of the best videos on social media for NCAA student athletes.
The first look that Mountaineers fans got at Sumpter and his video skills was when he announced his commitment to WVU in May of 2020. He and his dad filmed a one of a kind commitment video as he transferred out of Troy University. It featured himself, back home in Birmingham, Alabama kayaking his way to Morgantown, West Virginia, and although this may have been the first time that Mountaineers fans and the NCAA got a look at Sumpter’s creativity, it wasn’t the first video he made. In fact, he was making videos long before he was playing football.
“I grew up home schooled so I had a lot of free time to explore my creative interests.” Sumpter told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic in an interview, “When I was 7 my dad got into filming. He bought a bunch of camera equipment, and we even turned a tiny room in our house into an editing suite where we had a few monitors and everything we needed to edit videos. With all of these things at my disposal, as a kid I taught myself how to do almost everything it takes to make a movie. Me and my little brothers actually were making small movies. We were making ‘Star Wars 3.2’ and stuff like that. It was so corny, but we were making these whole 10 minute movies. Tried to make everything look so real, it’s really cool looking back at it.” Putting together short films and exploring the film industry at a young age, it seemed as if Tyler Sumpter would be a name that would resonate in the film industry.
It continued to look like that, however with some success on the soccer fields, doors began to open for Sumpter in the sports world at 5 years old when he started to play soccer. “I loved soccer.” he said, “I didn’t always look like a soccer player, but I was always one of the best on the teams I played on. I always had the biggest leg on the team, so my teammates and people called me ‘Big T’ and I remember when we played one of the competitive teams I actually broke a guy’s arm with a kick.” While playing soccer and making an impact doing so, Tyler Sumpter the creative mind was still at work. “My dad was one of my soccer coaches so whenever we played he always got people to film the games with his camera so that we would have video of our games and then I’d go and make highlight tapes for my teammates and then do recaps for tournaments and the season.” he added, “It was actually pretty smart because at the end of the year we would play the videos and put them on DVD for the moms to buy for like $25. I probably made a couple hundred bucks from that.”
Being one of the bigger kids on his soccer teams, and having the strongest leg in the area, Tyler Sumpter’s name got to the football community in the Birmingham, Alabama region. As he got ready to go to public school for the first time for middle school, after being homeschooled for elementary school he was asked to play football for the school. At first he was hesitant because of his commitment to soccer, but it didn’t take long for him to hit the football field. “I was asked by the coach to play football, he was a family friend so he was over for dinner… I ended up going to the special teams practice the next day and the kicker they had at the time had the second strongest leg on my soccer team (Sumpter had the strongest), and I ended up taking the kid’s spot as the kicker on the first day.” Sumpter went on to kick for Springville High School, and eventually found himself on both the offensive and defensive line as well. He was a busy dual sport athlete, playing both soccer and football, so he didn’t have a lot of time to spend on his filming, but with people around him bringing up the chances of Tyler Sumpter being an NFL kicker one day, it didn’t look like he would need to film. “When I started to play football, my typical day would go: school, football practice, and then soccer. I ended up quitting soccer when I played for our varsity team as a freshman. After going to some camps and training more I was kicking at a legit division one level in the 10th grade.” Sumpter remembers a buzz starting around his name that year. As a sophomore, schools like Auburn began to take a look at him and invite him to camps, but his recruiting process really took off when he made the move from Springville High School to Spain Park High School.
At Spain Park, Sumpter left quite the legacy. For a new guy on the block, without much expectations, he was very impressive, but he did run into some adversity in his junior year. In a thrilling homecoming game at Spain Park High School in 2014, the Spain Park Jaguars fell to the Hewitt-Trussville Huskies 64-63 in a fourth overtime. The game ended with a missed extra point by Sumpter. He reflected on the game, “our kicker was hurt for that game so I was doing all three (punting, kickoffs, place kicking) and I remember I was having a pretty good game but the missed extra point at the end of the game lost the game in quadruple overtime for us.” Sumpter continued, “The school that we played was close to the school I used to go to so I knew a lot of the guys on the team and that went to that school so after the game they started calling me Winnie The Pooh and I was a meme.” From that point on, Sumpter was unstoppable as a kicker and a punter. He finished his junior year off strong, starting to gain interest from more universities to take football into the post-secondary level, eventually being offered a scholarship by Troy University just prior to his senior season. As a senior Sumpter was named first team Super All-State as a punter in Alabama, first team Birmingham All-Metro as a kicker and also got the nod as the 13th ranked punter in the country as well as the 35th ranked player in all of Alabama.
Once his high school football career came to an end, it was time for a big decision to be made by Tyler Sumpter. With plenty of interest around the country, any team in the NCAA would have loved to have him on their team to punt and/or kick, but with Troy University being the only school to offer him a scholarship, it was easy for Sumpter to sign with the Trojans and play for head coach Neal Brown.
He would go on to redshirt as a freshman in 2016, then play a total of 38 games over the next three years with the Troy Trojans. In those 38 games he punted 156 times for a total 6,579 yards, averaging 42.2 yards per punt and made 39 of 51 field goal attempts as well as each of the 125 extra points he attempted. As a sophomore in 2018 he was named all-conference in the Sun Belt Conference as a place kicker and a punter. In 2019 as a junior he was named all-conference once again as a punter for Troy. After graduating from Troy with a bachelor’s degree in K-6 elementary education, Sumpter entered the transfer portal. The year prior, there was a coaching change at Troy, where they went from Neal Brown to Chip Lindsey, so things were a bit different with the Trojans than it was when Sumpter started there. On May 31st 2020 he released his commitment video, announcing that he would be following Neal Brown to West Virginia University and will punt for the Mountaineers. A main reason as to why he chose West Virginia though, was not because of the football team itself. It was the opportunity he may have to work with the video team at West Virginia and get back into filming.
Sumpter told JZ Media, “In 2019 I bought a Canon G7X to vlog. I got into filming again and got new softwares to edit. I graduated from Troy as one of the best punters and kickers in the country and originally I was going to LA Tech but I remember Neal Brown telling me, ‘I know you don’t want to be a teacher in Louisiana.’ He brought up the idea that I could do some video stuff with the team at WVU and I grew up a West Virginia fan so it only made sense to go there.”
There wasn’t any video action for Sumpter in year one. He was a new guy on the block and wanted to make a good impression on the field. During the shortened COVID year with West Virginia he punted the ball 37 times for 1,499 yards, averaging 40.5 yards per punt (4th in BIG 12), connected on 3 of 4 field goal attempts and was 1 for 1 for extra points. The highlight of his season came against Kansas where he booted a 37 yard punt down to the one yard line. His longest punt of the season was 56 yards.
“I finished my first season there, and when I was back home for Christmas I was like, ‘why am I not filming?’ because it was such a big part of my childhood, doing all this stuff with cameras and editing. So I ended up getting everything I needed to get back into it and when I got back to Morgantown during the off-season I would go to these training sessions that our offence would put on and it was just for experience and getting adjusted to it all.” Sumpter said, “All of the guys loved the work that I was doing, and I ended up doing this stuff all off-season. Did some photoshoots with teammates and their girlfriends and stuff like that too. I was finally getting into everything again.”
On the football field, his last year of eligibility was a good one. He averaged 43.5 yards per punt and had a long of 72 yards but he also made the most of it off of the football field as a videographer and content creator, making up for lost times.
“One of the guys I know on the basketball team, Gabe (Osabuohien) told me about a rapper, Dusty Locane’s concert in Morgantown. I ended up going and filmed behind the scenes, on stage and around him. After the concert I was editing until like 3:00 in the morning, and this was during game week, just before the first game of the season in Maryland so I had practice the next day and meetings and stuff. The best part was being at practice, and the kickers knew I was filming the night before, and I was still launching the ball across the field. They were like, ‘how is he doing this?’ But that is the reality of my season, I was either filming or at football. There was pretty much no inbetween, unless I was filming and editing at football which I ended up doing too.” About midway through the 2021 season, Sumpter started to release his highlight tapes of himself and his teammates at West Virginia and people across the nation started to take notice of the skills he had. “During the season I remember editing Akheem (Mesidor)’s highlight tape in the weight room,” Sumpter said, “it was cool because I was editing, and then about 10 minutes after I started and I was working there was about 3 or 4 guys around me watching and then by the end of the highlight it was like 20 some guys I was showing it to. The guys really like the videos and if my teammates like them, who are going to be in the NFL, NFL players will like them too. I know I’m going to be huge very soon because everything I do is cool. It has my little pizzazz on it.”
The majority of West Virginia players that have a highlight tape from the 2021 season had their highlight tape made by West Virginia punter Tyler Sumpter. Some of the best ones you may have seen so far, Sam James’ highlight, Sean Ryan’s highlight, Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s highlight, Kaden Prather’s highlight- Sump did it. Overall, Sumpter’s highlight tapes that he makes for his teammates and the ones he will make for athletes across the world are one of a kind. They have his “pizzazz” on it which separates it from highlight tapes made by other creators. As a football player himself, he has a different point of view when making the videos of course, which may have a part in it, but it really comes down to his editing style. Every single highlight tape he has made is a short movie. It gets your attention and it keeps your attention. It tells a story, and that is something he wants to do with the videos he creates. In the interview with Jordan Zlomislic he explained his style and touched on the goals he has for the future of his career as a content creator. “The videos I’ve made are highlight videos.” he said, “They are supposed to show highlights. The best plays. They are supposed to attract you to the highlights of the player’s season, and when I hear that people watch these 40 second videos 10 times in a row because it caught their attention and stuff that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. What I’m also trying to do a bit now is mix these highlight tapes into documentaries. Where I make videos that have the highlight tape style that I’ve been using but also tell a story in the video.” The first video that will follow that description may just be a video of Tyler Sumpter, Sump Did It himself. “I’m making my own mini documentary right now.” he announced, “I’ll be making the best punter highlight tape that the world has ever seen while telling my story.”
Tyler Sumpter will be entering the 2022 NFL Draft this April. His collegiate football career will officially come to an end at West Virginia’s pro day, and even if he doesn’t make it into the NFL or another professional league, there’s no doubting that Tyler Sumpter’s name will be a big one very soon. He is on the right track to be one of the best videographers and video editors in sports and music. Sumpter has been in love with making videos since he was 7 years old, making short movies with his dad’s Panasonic AG-DVX100 Professional Camcorder. With a good vision behind “Sump did it” as well, which highlights the idea of telling athletes’ stories, hopefully soon in podcast form as well, people should keep all eyes and ears on his future, and some work he may put out.