Quarterbacks are sometimes referred to as ‘another coach on the field’ and in Ty Storey’s case, this was true during his playing days and now in his current profession.
Storey, who was a signal caller for the Razorbacks and then Western Kentucky for a year, is now the receivers coach at Bentonville West High School in Centerton.
The Wolverines’ program has been going for almost a decade now under the leadership of Bryan Pratt. Storey started off leading one of their junior high feeder programs in 2020 and is now a varsity position coach.
“The part I enjoy most is being able to teach my players the tips and tricks I was coached on and picked up on along the way,” Storey said in an interview with Best of Arkansas Sports.
“I was blessed to play for a lot of quality coaches that all had very different schemes and backgrounds. This gave me a great opportunity to learn a lot of different offenses that I am able to share with my players.”
The Storey Begins
When Ty Storey was lighting up scoreboards running the spread offense with the Charleston Tigers during his prep career, people took notice.
The consensus four-star prospect was the No. 9 pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2015 and the No. 3 player in Arkansas, according to the 247Sports Composite. While at Charleston, Storey threw for 12,856 yards and 154 touchdowns, both of which ranked in the top five in state history after he left school.
The Tigers won three state championships while he was there, going undefeated the final two years going with him as the starting quarterback. He’d also gotten a ring as a freshman playing linebacker in 2011.
He was offered by most of the top programs in the nation, such as Alabama, Auburn and Louisville (coached by Bobby Petrino at the time), but committed to Bret Bielema’s program the summer after his sophomore year, before Bielema had even coached a game.
It’s something that Storey wishes he would’ve done differently during the recruiting process, but he doesn’t regret committing to Arkansas.
“Being able to meet some of the people I met in the process was cool and being able to bring my friends and family along on that ride was one of the best parts,” Storey said. “It’s hard to say if I would have changed anything looking back because you never know how it would have turned out, but I would have looked at not committing so early.”
By virtue of committing so early, a lot of programs that would’ve looked hard at Storey backed off entirely.
“I wish I would have taken all my officials and just enjoyed the process,” Storey said. “I think I would have always ended up a Razorback, but taking all five official visits to meet new people and experience new things would be something I would have done differently if I could go back.
“Another thing I would have also done would be to stay and finish out my senior year of high school. I think it would have been different if I would have gone in knowing I was going to compete my first year for the job. I knew it was Brandon’s job so looking back I wish I could have played basketball and baseball to see if I could compete with my friends for a couple of more rings.”
Right behind Brandon was his little brother Austin, so Storey didn’t even get a legitimate shot at the job until Chad Morris was hired in December 2017.
“When I first arrived on campus, Arkansas looked like we were back,” Storey said. “We just beat Texas in the Texas Bowl and were on the up and up. At the time, not many people were questioning my decision to go there. It turned pretty quickly, but if I had to do it all over again it would be hard for me not to choose Arkansas again. I met some of my best friends and had a good time. We went through some hard times, but being able to learn four different offenses in my five years of college has taught me a lot about football and life in general.”
It probably didn’t help the completion percentage or the touchdown-to-interception ratio while playing, but has definitely helped him when it comes to diagramming plays and talking schemes.
The Arkansas and WKU Days
Ty Storey performed admirably, but was inconsistent throughout 2018 as the Razorbacks stumbled to a 2-10 season and an 0-8 mark in the SEC. He was 143 of 250 passing (57.2%) for 1,584 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
He knew Chad Morris was looking at the transfer portal for other players, so it was a no-brainer to jump in the portal.
Western Kentucky’s quarterback was graduating following the 2018 season and they weren’t recruiting one in the 2019 high school class.
“It worked out exactly like it was supposed to. When I put my name in the portal, WKU was one of the first teams that reached out,” Storey said. “I knew their history with quarterbacks throwing for a lot of yards and scoring a lot of points. When I looked at their schedule and saw Arkansas on it, it was like it was meant to be.”
November 9, 2019, is similar to December 7, 1941, for Arkansas football fans as it was the death knell to the Morris era, kind of like Pearl Harbor was the death knell to America staying out of World War II.
Storey remembers the weekend like it was yesterday.
“Coming back to Fayetteville was great. I always joked with my Western boys how this is God’s country and how great the state of Arkansas was, so it was cool to be able to come up here with them,” Storey said. “We stayed in Bentonville so of course they saw all the businesses and developments from Walmart. They saw Pinnacle and all the natural beauty here. I think some of them were actually convinced it was God’s country by the time we left.
“Then going to the stadium and having the student section chant my name, having pretty much the whole town of Charleston with Western gear on sitting in our section was wild. Then going out there doing what we did and only playing a series or two in the second half was just the icing on the cake.”
Everyone knows what happened after that. The Hilltoppers won easily by a final score of 45-19, Morris was fired the following day and the season ended with another 2-10 record. That led to the hiring of Sam Pittman, who has guided the program back to SEC relevance after hitting rock bottom.
“Everybody loves Coach Pittman,” said Storey, who was a freshman when Pittman was still the offensive line coach. “You won’t hear many players that don’t like him. He’s a players coach. Kids play hard for him. He’s also very real and down to earth. He can connect with anybody. He can relate and build connections with inner city kids, suburb kids, country kids, and anything in between. That’s pretty rare to have.”
Storey Passes on Lessons Learned
Ty Storey enjoyed the ride as a college quarterback, but now his job is to mold and shape young men, and it’s easier to do that with the experience he gained along the way.
“It was a great experience to be highly recruited,” Storey said. “It always feels good to be wanted. I was always a really laid back person and never really wanted to be in the spotlight so that was a bit different for me. You see the kids now all wanting to go get their pictures made with smoke and lights. That was never me.”
Kane Archer of Greenwood is a quarterback that is already drawing comparisons to Storey and other top signal callers from the state. Greenwood is less than 14 miles from Charleston and both prep programs have enjoyed a multitude of success in the last two decades.
Storey offers the rising sophomore and others in his situation this advice:
“I would tell Kane or any other young QB getting recruited to enjoy the process and to relax,” Storey said. “It will all work out, just put in the work and at the end of the day, you are going to have to just try to make the best decision you can at the time. When you get to college, it will all be over before you know it, so work hard, but also enjoy the experience.”
Storey’s career didn’t produce the number of wins Arkansas football fans hoped to see, but it still mattered. He played a part in one of the Razorbacks’ worst seasons in modern history, but then was a large reason for helping rid the program of the cancer that was Chad Morris. In the end, in its own way, it all worked out.
That’s no small dose of poetic justice.
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