ATHENS, Ga. --- DeAngelo Tyson carries his game face 12 months a year, but his stern appearance belies a gentle giant's attitude.
"You hardly ever see him smile," Georgia center Ben Jones said. "When I first met him, I wondered if he was mad at me all the time. But he's a great guy and he's one of my best friends now. I've been lining up across from him for three years now and he's great. ... He's definitely stepped up as one of the leaders of the defense."
Tyson could have reason to never smile. He grew up in a Statesboro boys home after his family dropped out of the picture.
Tyson thinks his expression is more businesslike than surly.
"I'm not the type of guy who's going to smile all the time," he said. "If I look mean, I'm not mad or anything. It's just my demeanor. I'm kind of a laid-back guy. But if you get to know me, I'm not a mean guy or anything like that. I just don't show a lot of emotion."
Tyson made a family with Georgia football and, like brothers are prone to do, his teammates aren't shy about giving him grief for his scowl.
"You don't hardly see him smile. I'm actually kind of scared of him," receiver Tavarres King said. "He's a really quiet guy and he's really humble. He's a great guy and he's the kind of guy you want at your side on Saturday. But really, I can't remember the last time I saw him smile."
Tyson, a 6-foot-2, 306-pound defensive lineman, could have a breakout season. He played out of position at nose guard last year but has taken over as a starting defensive end this year. He also has a full season in a 3-4 system under his belt, so that experience should pay off.
"It's exciting," Tyson said. "You can't really master everything you need to learn the first time you do it. All great defenses have a great defensive end, so that's what we want to do to go out there and get better."
The development of Kwame Geathers and the arrival of junior college transfer Jonathan Jenkins enabled Tyson to move away from nose guard.
"He played the nose last year because he was the best option we had," Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "But end is his most natural fit. He has great size and athletic skills to be a tackle in the 4-3. A tackle in the 4-3 is an end in the 3-4."