Latest MTSU Magazine highlights alumnus and Tennes...

Latest MTSU Magazine highlights alumnus and Tennessee Titan All-Pro safety Kevin Byard

The Summer 2018 edition of MTSU Magazine profiles alumnus Kevin Byard (’15), who traveled a road from poverty to MTSU to All-Pro status in the NFL.

All of Byard’s accolades last season also represented the latest steps in the story of an overlooked overachiever, one who overcame a challenging family background and the doubts of every college that failed to recruit him.

Click the cover to view an electronic, flip-page version of this edition. (Photo by MTSU Creative and Visual Services)

He could have fallen off track as a young teenager, when he was forced to play a father-figure role for five younger siblings. He could have faltered during his senior year in high school, when he was snubbed by nearly every college.

Instead, Byard adjusted and excelled so well that he became an all-conference player at MTSU and now is already recognized as one of the NFL’s best safeties as a key member of the Tennessee Titans defense.

“A lot of people come from a tough background, a tough upbringing, and a tough home life,” MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill said. “Some use that as an excuse. They’ll say, ‘Well, I didn’t have this. I didn’t have that.’ They let their situation define them.

“But Kevin Byard was the complete opposite. He was never going to use his own upbringing — or anything he didn’t have growing up — as a crutch or as an excuse.”

Other articles in the new edition of the magazine include:

  • A look behind the scenes at the innovative, tech-savvy educators transforming MTSU into a national model for student success;
  • A closer look at one of MTSU’s newest educational centers, which demystifies Chinese culture for MTSU students and local citizens alike;
  • A transcript of a recent commencement speech delivered by alumnus and MTSU Board of Trustees Chair Stephen B. “Steve” Smith, which contains an important message for our time.

Printed copies of MTSU Magazine are distributed twice annually to more than 109,000 alumni readers. An electronic, flip-page version of the latest edition is available at and MTSU Magazine stories are also available online at

— Drew Ruble (