Where are they now?: Tyvon Branch
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 23:01
It wasn’t long ago when Tyvon Branch anchored the defense for UConn football and made a name for himself in the Big East. Since then, Branch has found himself a stable home in the Bay area, playing safety for the Oakland Raiders.
Branch grew up in Cicero, N.Y. and attended the local Cicero-North Syracuse High School where he excelled in both football and track. His outstanding athletic prowess had earned him numerous accolades in both sports, and eventually landed him football scholarships from Syracuse, New Hampshire and his eventual commitment, Connecticut.
In his first season with the Huskies in 2004, Branch spent most of his playing time on the special team and finished with 20 tackles (12 solos), with 20 yards per return on 10 kickoffs.
Prior the 2005 campaign, Branch was caught up in some legal troubles. He was one of five UConn football players arrested and charged with possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, after an incident in which the driver-side window of a vehicle was shot out by a pellet gun in Willimantic. All five players were released on bail bonds shortly after, and went on to served brief suspensions by then-head coach Randy Edsall.
Nevertheless, Branch didn’t let the incident affect his on-field performances. Midway through the 2005 season, Branch was tabbed as the starting right cornerback for the Huskies and went on to collect 42 tackles (21 solos), four pass deflections and two interceptions.
From that point on, Branch established himself as one of the premier pass defenders in the Big East. In 2007, he led the Big East in kick returns with 28.9 yards per return and became the first player in school history to return two kickoffs for a touchdown in the same season.
Branch would finish up his career with the Huskies with 224 tackles (133 solos), 18 pass deflections with three interceptions and forced fumbles before declaring for the 2008 NFL draft, where he was selected as the first pick in the fourth round (100th overall) by the Oakland Raiders.
In his five seasons with the Raiders thus far, Branch has started 62 out of the 70 games he played, registering 441 total tackles, six sacks, 19 pass deflections, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.
The Raiders have since placed a franchise tag on Branch in early 2012 before signing him to a four-year contract for $26.6 million.