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Tyson Bagent was starting a Division II game at this time last year . .. now he could be starting for the Chicago Bears

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
October 19, 2023

LAKE FOREST — Tyson Bagent never had a doubt he would make it to the NFL.

Even if only he and his father were the only ones who believed he could accomplish that dream. For Bagent, he just needed to figure out how he could outwork the competition that had better facilities and resources around them.

Bagent did just that.

He went on to break school records at Division II Shepherd University. After a historic college career, he still went undrafted, but made his way onto the Bears’ roster with his training camp performance combined with displaying his overall functional intelligence and work habits.

But if, for some reason, Bagent didn’t make it to the league, he had a backup plan.

“I was going to basically just CrossFit my life away, get as ripped and jacked as I possibly could and be a teacher at Martinsburg High School,” Bagent said.

Instead of being a jacked high school teacher, the 6-foot-3, 213-pound quarterback will get to use his physical makeup and intelligence to prepare for the Week 7 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Technically, Justin Fields hasn’t been ruled out with his right dislocated thumb injury he sustained against the Vikings, but Fields is still listed as doubtful to play this Sunday at Soldier Field.

This allows Bagent to make his first career NFL start — something he isn’t taking for granted.

“It means everything,” Bagent said. “After the last game of my college career, I was talking to a good buddy of mine. We were kind of talking about hey, no matter how good or bad this goes at the next level, there is a very big chance that maybe you make the team but you might never get to start a game ever again in your whole life. You may never get that QB1 role ever again. That’s just kind of how the apple falls from the tree sometimes. But to look where I’m at and to look how everything has kind of fallen into place, just nothing but extreme gratitude and just feeling super blessed to be able to be that kind of motivational role to the younger people in my family, kind of be that person they can look up to and just really motivation for everybody that may be at a smaller level and all the people back home.”

Bagent is a believer that everything in his life has already been planned out and is already set in stone.

“So I’ve got nothing to lose,” Bagent said. “I’m going to go out there and fight with these guys to the death and try to stack up as many wins as a I can until we get Justin back.”

As an undrafted quarterback out of a Division II school, if Bagent can lead this Bears team to a single victory for however long Fields will be gone, that should be viewed as a victory in itself.

But his teammates and his coaches think higher of Bagent. The reason for that is because of what they have already seen in the young quarterback.

After Fields went down in the third quarter in the 19-13 loss to the Vikings, Bagent stepped in. He had a shaky start with a fumble that led to a Vikings scoop-and-score. The following drive ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down. Then the third drive ended in a 3-and-out.

But Bagent led the Bears on their only touchdown drive of the day, which ended with a Bagent 1-yard run.

“I think just training camp you see all the plays that he made, the throws that he made,” DJ Moore said on Wednesday. “Then going out there and performing when he got the chance. This past Sunday, you see what he can do almost getting us back to get the win. Look forward to having new energy and new juice from him coming in. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Unlike last week, Bagent will have time to prepare and rep with the starting offense. Even though Bagent will likely be the starting quarterback on Sunday, he doesn’t want offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to be afraid to call anything on the play sheet. He prides himself in his preparation, and Bagent said whatever they decide to call will be understood.

Sunday will be a day to remember for Bagent. At Soldier Field, his family will be in attendance to see the once Division II quarterback make his first start in the NFL.

“Everybody’s really excited,” Bagent said. “I think everybody’s kind of just curious on how I’m kinda feeling, letting me know that if I’m freaking out behind the scenes they’ll come up early and hang out with me. I told them I was all good with that. I got a lot of people coming on Sunday. Everybody’s pretty excited.”

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