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Conference Corner: RIP Tyler Trent

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Life is tough, but this kid was tougher.

Purdue v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

I know that we’re a couple days late on this, but I felt it too important to not at least post something.

Earlier in the year, I tossed out a solid portion of the regular MMQB format and replaced it with the story of Tyler Trent, the Purdue super fan who was battling cancer at the time. After a long fight with the disease, a fight he resoundingly won when you think about it, Tyler finally rested this week.

When I was in high school, I helped chair a Relay for Life Event in my local community. Part of the process involved meeting with and hearing the stories of local kids that were battling cancer. They were our heroes and our motivators. These kids were the baddest of badasses. Tyler was every bit of one as well.

Along with the feature, this is what I wrote at the time his story first gained national attention:

I’m taking this a different route this week after Saturday night. Earlier in the day, ESPN’s College GameDay ran an unbelievable story on Purdue Super fan Tyler Trent. I feel obliged to post the video in its entirety because it’s that spectacular. Gameday has always been really good at the human interest stuff, and this week’s dive may be their Mona Lisa.

For those who have yet to watch (you really really should), and don’t have the time now, let me break it down. Tyler is a 20-year-old Purdue student battling terminal cancer. After beating the disease once, it came roaring back as Tyler began his studies last year. He’s currently under Hospice care at his home, but was able to muster the strength to make it to the game this weekend. I’m not doing this story justice, WATCH THE VIDEO.

My family recently went through a very serious medical situation that put a lot of things in perspective. Human life is the most valuable and precious thing on this planet, and I encourage you to hug your loved ones just a little bit tighter tonight or send them a text after you finish reading this just to check in. You never know when you might not get another chance.

Tyler is an inspiring kid undeservingly put in the most horrible situation. Watching Purdue boat race the Buckeyes in West Lafayette was sweet enough as a Michigan alum but knowing how much it meant to this kid made it even sweeter on a night where we were all Boilermakers.

Since that night, Purdue made it to a bowl game, and Rondale Moore became one of a select few players to become a unanimous All-American as a freshman. Jeff Brohm turned down his alma mater Louisville in order to return to West Lafayette for the foreseeable future. It’s a future that Tyler will no doubt be watching from above.

In the last few months of his life, this kid managed to write a full-length book - one that you can join me in pre-ordering for its March release! This was on top of attending press events, captaining the Purdue football team, and leading multiple charitable endeavors. Did I mention he was battling terminal cancer? Tyler Trent did more in the span of three or four months with his body deteriorating than most people will do in a lifetime of health.

Scott Van Pelt, my favorite personality on ESPN, was able to get in touch with Tyler in late October and had him on the show to help co-host an episode. Try to watch these clips without some combination of goosebumps and tears. I know I couldn’t.

I know this isn’t entirely in our lane, but one of the things I love about writing for this site is the good that we do. The Revenge Tour shirts helped raise money for the wonderful Prout family and Michigan superfan/the team’s best friend Larry. His GoFundMe is here.

Purdue has opened up The Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment and The Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award. I linked the official page so you all could read up on what they’re doing with it.

This column is being drawn out because it’s likely to be the last time I get to use my platform here to share Tyler’s story. I’ve had family go through hospice care, and we all know what it means. That doesn’t make the news from earlier in the week any easier to stomach. Thank you Tyler for inspiring us, for giving us hope, and for being who you are.

Boiler Up. Hammer Down.