TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (FOX 13) - From soaring with the Eagles at East Lake High School to flying high in the City of Angels, Tyler Higbee has reached the pinnacle of football just three short years into his NFL career.
"Some guys play forever and never get it," said his high school coach, Bob Hudson, the football coach at East Lake.
Hudson will be watching from afar Sunday when Higbee and the Rams take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Higbee, who was named MVP during his senior season, graduated from East Lake in 2011 and spent his high school career as a wide receiver before transitioning into a tight end at Western Kentucky, where he played his college ball.
"You coach kids, you get them when they're 14-years-old and Tyler's one that stuck -- in today's world of transfers -- Tyler was here all four years, and it worked out great for him and he kept excelling, kept getting better," said Hudson.
"He always had phenomenal ball skills, he'd go down low and catch a ball," added Hudson.
The Rams tight end was named a starter last season. He's caught four touchdowns so far into his career but is used mainly as a blocker.
One thing that has always remained the same as Higbee climbed up the ranks: He's a team-first guy.
"Higbee's always a good guy," said Hudson. "He comes up to school when he gets a chance, hangs out and talks to kids, you know, does all that good stuff. Everything I hope they do, because I've got a lot of young kids watching him -- big Higbee fans."
The Eagles will be watching as one of their own becomes the first in East Lake's 31-year history to play in the Super Bowl.
"You're kind of like, taking it all in, like holy crap he's playing in the Super Bowl Sunday," said Hudson. "I've watched a lot of his games on TV, but this one, this is the big one."
It is the biggest one of them all.