LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Estacado wideout TJ Steele grew up playing football with his six brothers and one sister. He says those family battles were the driving force that made him into the player he has become on the gridiron.
“I always thought I could be the best out of everybody, that’s just me,” Steele said. “But you know they showed me sometimes that I wasn’t and sometimes I showed them that I was.”
Steele said all of his brothers played football and ran track, while his sister played basketball and ran track. However, she could be found mixing it up with the boys in the yard as well.
He said, “We all love playing football it’s just what we do.”
TJ’s twin brother, RJ also plays for the Matadors on the defensive side of the ball, but has experienced some injuries this season. Estacado Head Coach Joe Cluley said he’s seen those backyard battles play out at practice when the two compete against each other.
“He played it out in the front yard and plays in the backyard and plays at all the family reunions and things like that,” Cluley said. “He did that growing up and he just developed a knack with the ball in his hands of being a great player. And I think you see that continue on. You know when TJ gets the ball in his hands it’s almost like he’s back in the backyard.”
Competing against his siblings at home was just a start for the dynamic player. Next year, he’ll head to the University of North Texas to join the Mean Green football team and live out his dreams of playing at the next level.
Cluley said, “Football is changing his life and has changed his life. It’s a road that he’s worked really hard for and it’s going to get him a free education at an unbelievable school at North Texas. That’s what the ultimate goal is. Use the tools that you have to become a better person, a better father, a better husband, a better brother.”
Only one of Steele’s older brothers played in the college ranks, but Steele understands the importance of making the most of his opportunities and what the sport of football can do for his life.
“Takes me away from here,” Steele said. “Gets me out of home. Gets me somewhere.”
Steele has one younger brother that he hopes will also benefit from all the backyard battles, so that he may one day play at the college level.