College football • Larsen brothers to battle when Utah State, Southern Utah meet
|Tyler Larsen, Utah State football vs. Nevada. Courtesy Utah State University|
Logan • The Larsen parents, LeRoy and Barbara, will sit in the southeast end zone of Romney Stadium on Thursday night, so as not to show favoritism when their two sons battle on each snap. That part is settled.
A little murky is what the family will be wearing when Utah State and Southern Utah open their seasons against each other. It’s likely that Barbara will take a few USU and SUU T-shirts, rip them in half and sew them together.
Tyler and Cody are brothers, three years apart in age and standouts in talent, playing for the Aggies and the T-Birds, respectively. Brothers have been on different sides before. This is different, a bigger deal. Tyler is a junior center. Cody is a senior defensive tackle. The two are literally playing against each other.
On every snap.
"This is going to be a special night for us for sure," LeRoy Larsen said. "The two got to play one season of ball together at Jordan High and we all thought this was incredible. We never thought they would play against each other on the college stage. We just never thought this would happen."
The two speak to each other regularly, by text and by phone. On Sunday night, the brothers converged on the family home for one last dinner, before returning to their respective schools. The jokes, the ribbing, and the trash talk have been promised.
Cody is the more vocal of the two. Pre-snap, anything will be in play other than momma jokes, you know, because the two have the same mother.
"I’m going to talk about his big belly, or his tight jersey," Cody said. "Anything to kind of get under his skin. It’s going to be fun; I have to say anything I can to get an edge on him."
Adding more intrigue is how good the two have become. Cody Larsen is a preseason FCS All-American, a returning All-Conference pick and has started all but one game in three seasons. He is the anchor of the SUU defense, and will be the focal point of USU’s offensive line.
Tyler could very well be the best center in the Western Athletic Conference. He’s on multiple preseason watch lists, the Rimington, and the Lombardi being the most prominent. He’s also an Outland Trophy candidate, given annually to the most outstanding interior lineman in college football. With just a single offer from Southern Utah upon the completion of his senior season at Jordan, he thought he was going to be reunited with Cody.
A late offer from Gary Andersen changed that. He headed to Logan, quickly became a starter, and has developed into a bona fide professional prospect.
"It’s going to be really interesting," Tyler said. "There’s always been a lot of competition between us. We’re gonna go at it, and I can’t wait. We’ve always been close, especially now. We’re really excited and we can’t wait for the game to start."
The two have been quick to give advice to each other throughout their journey. And there are two more boys in the family. Zach Larsen is a senior offensive lineman at Jordan, an anchor to what may be the best line in the state.
He has an offer from Ed Lamb and the T-Birds. Still another brother is 13 and on his way up. The family van, huge and blue, and adorned with all things Larsen, will make its way up I-15 on Thursday. It’s virtually a can’t-miss automobile.
In the process, the celebration will begin of the success of the two brightest stars in the clan.
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