UNC WR Tylee Craft Provides Update on Health, Graduation from College

College graduation is a momentous occasion for any student, but for Tylee Craft, it marked a major milestone on an arduous journey. The UNC football wide receiver has been fighting a cancer diagnosis since early 2022, one which has kept him from playing the game he loves. But between cancer treatments, Craft has still maintained a presence on the team, standing on the sideline during games and attending weekly meetings. But even after attaining his undergraduate degree, Craft plans to stick around Chapel Hill a little longer.

Craft spoke with Chapelboro’s Michael Koh last week. Below is a transcript of their conversation, which has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Michael Koh: How are you feeling? How are you doing health-wise?

Tylee Craft: I’m doing all right. I’ve been in pain a little bit recently, but other than that, my pain has been controlled. I’ve been feeling pretty good.

Michael Koh: How was graduation weekend? It’s emotional for any college graduate, but I’m sure it was especially emotional for you, right?

Tylee Craft: Yeah, being able to graduate under the circumstances that I’ve dealt with, it made me happy and proud to be able to support my family and be able to graduate with some of my teammates that I came in with. But then again, the other aspect of it was the protests that they had. So it was just a lot going on during graduation.

Michael Koh: Now that that life event is behind you, what plans are there in place for you for the summer and the fall?

Tylee Craft: Yes, I’m taking summer classes off and I’m gonna be doing my master’s in the fall. It’s called MAPS [Master of Applied Professional Studies], but it’s pretty much gonna be like sports administration. I’m doing that.

Michael Koh: What’s your career aspiration with the MAPS degree?

Tylee Craft: I want to be an NFL scout.

Michael Koh: Have you talked about that with Mack Brown? Has he given you pointers and things to look out for in the professional world?

Tylee Craft: I talked to [Senior Advisor to the Head Coach Darrell] Moody a little bit more about it because Moody was our NFL advisor for our team.

Michael Koh: Was that something that you always were interested in or did it come to light recently?

Tylee Craft: I wanted to travel and I love football, so those two kind of work hand-in-hand. You travel to different schools and recruit players and stuff like that and see how they perform and practice and get to talk to ’em. So that was just something I just felt like I could do. And it’s fun and it’s attractive to me.

Michael Koh: Along those same lines with the support from the football program, what are some ways that they were supporting you during this fight with cancer? Some ways that maybe we wouldn’t have been able to see publicly that you’d be comfortable sharing?

Tylee Craft: Mostly with meals. My mom’s been up here a lot, so they helped her with meals, transportation, gas cards. So whenever she went home, she could fill up on gas. Staying at the SECU [Family] House, that’s been a tremendous help, which is right around the corner from campus.

Michael Koh: There are obviously the very visible gestures: they named the Spring Game after you, Coach Brown talks about you a lot at his press conferences. How much does that mean that he is being so vocal? Because he is a very powerful voice in college football.

Tylee Craft: He takes up for his team. So whenever he’s in the news, he talks about his players and he encourages them. He makes it a message to do the right thing. Even though people are dealing with certain circumstances, they’re still pushing through their adversity to try to be something great.

Michael Koh: I’m sure it was hard to try to live a normal life during that whole process. Why was it important to you to not only come to the UNC football games, but be on the sidelines and wear your jersey and be a visible presence?

Tylee Craft: Because these are my brothers. I’m with them 24/7 every day. So missing out, I can’t do. As long as I’m feeling good, I gotta be out there with them to support them, encourage them, do whatever I can to help the team win.

Michael Koh: I’ve gotta ask about the cowboy hat that I’ve seen you wearing sometimes. What’s the story there?

Tylee Craft: It was just hot one day, one of the practices and I just wound up wearing it and it just stuck.

Michael Koh: Were there any other teammates that started wearing it too?

Tylee Craft: I think a couple of them did start wearing it. I wasn’t trying to start nothing, it was just hot and I just needed something to cover my face.

Michael Koh: How much are you looking forward to not only getting back into the classroom, but also the next season hanging out with the guys?

Tylee Craft: I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got a new team, new coaching staff, so it’s gonna be fun to see how everybody gels together.

Michael Koh: Are you still involved in like meetings with the wide receiver room and meetings with Coach Chip Lindsey and Coach Brown? Just normal day-to-day things with the football program during the season?

Tylee Craft: Yeah, I’m in meetings with them all the time.

Michael Koh: Why did you think that was important to be there for those? Because I’m sure Coach Brown would’ve understood if you wanted to just step away for a little bit.

Tylee Craft: It just helped me be around the team, give me something to do, not just sitting around doing nothing. I was able to help Coach while at practice or at the games, like I’m still a part of the team.


Featured image via Tylee Craft on Instagram

Chapelboro.com does not charge subscription fees, and you can directly support our efforts in local journalism here. Want more of what you see on Chapelboro? Let us bring free local news and community information to you by signing up for our newsletter.

Related Stories


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *