Four Star Safety Gets Duke Offer

When he took over the program, head coach David Cutcliffe told the media that he was going to recruit student athletes who could play football at the highest levels. "They are out there," the head coach proclaimed. "We just have to go find them." Perhaps no one player personifies that description more than four star Florida safety Wayne Lyons.

Measuring out at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds with a 4.55 recorded combine forty time, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard High stand out Wayne Lyons is one of the top rated safeties in the country. He sports offers from the usual compliment of high major programs including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and others. But it's what separates Lyons from your typical high major athlete that has the Blue Devils intrigued.

"Football isn't the only thing that keeps me pretty busy these days," said Lyons. "I study hard to maintain and improve my 4.82 GPA and my #1 class rank. It is my goal to graduate Valedictorian of my class. I am also Class President, which also requires some of my time."

And he's not just taking classes at Dillard High either. In fact, Lyons is enrolled in English and History at the local community college for his core courses, as well as taking a Communications elective. Back in high school the four star prospect is enrolled in Honor Physics and Engineering Technology.

With such an impressive academic resume, it's no wonder the Blue Devils stepped up with a scholarship offer recently.

"Duke sent a nicely laminated offer letter on September 1. I know that Duke is a prestigious academic school, something that is really important to me. I called Coach Cutcliffe that day and thanked him for the offer."

As with most high major recruitments, however, Duke must battle a legacy that doesn't include winning and post season appearances. Something the new coaching staff seems determined to change and sell to Lyons.

"As far as the football program is concerned, I have been impressed by the fact that I have received hand written notes from Head Coach Davis Cutcliffe and Linebackers Coach Jim Collins. In comparison to the other programs that has offered, I would say that they are on the same level as most academically but not as good athletically, when it come down to game results."

Still, despite the past, Lyons says the Blue Devils can certainly become a player in his recruitment by playing to the program's strengths and working to improve on the field as well.

"What makes their pitch different from other schools is that they can boast about the academics and being part of a school with a rich tradition of high athlete graduation rates. I'm going to give all schools an equal shot. I don't feel that I am bigger than any program and feel extremely blessed to have a school such as Duke showing interest in me. My ultimate goal is to graduate with a degree in either engineering or accounting from the best academic institution possible."

"As far as education is concerned, I have been raised to always do my best and not settle for less. I live by the motto "Always do everything and never do less". My mom has never allowed me to be an underachiever, and that spirit has carried over into my daily thought process. That is why, although I know football is going to be demanding, I am still going to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer or an accountant."

Being such a highly ranked student, where does a high major football career fit in?

"Honestly, I view football as a vehicle to accomplish my life goals. Because of that, Duke has a just as good a chance as any of the other schools. There I would probably have a chance to play early, which is great because - after all, I'm an athlete who loves to compete."

With the process just kicking off for the highly rated junior, Lyons admits the process looks to be one filled with choices and a ton of information. Still, having six programs send offers on the first day juniors were allowed to be contacted was a positive for him.

"What I foresee myself looking for in a college program will be stability, the depth chart at my position, and of course the graduation rate of football players. I will also be looking into the engineering and business programs offered at the schools because of my intended major."

"I'm really looking for a program with stability and one that includes a team unity off the field in a family environment. I would like a program where the coaches at least appear to have job security. At my high school, in my second year on Varsity, I have had two different coaches, so having the comfort of a stable coaching staff will be very important."

As a sophomore Lyons played outside linebacker for Dillard High, leading the team in tackles (95). Entering his junior year, however, he made the position switch to his likely destination at the collegiate level - strong safety.

"Depending on the school and conference play, I can see myself playing either position. A lot of that will be determined on how much I grow in the next few years. I love playing both positions, and as long as I can get on the field I can play either one."

Versatility is one thing, but does Lyons have a preference?

"Strong Safety, because I can lurk around seeking out my prey with the freedom that I am allowed to roam."

That mentality has been on display through Dillard's first few games in which Lyons has made a couple of highlight film plays.

"During our first game I blew up a couple of screen plays that led to a safety on one play and a receiver's helmet being knocked 5 yards down the field on another. I finished the game with 8 solo tackles."

Fans of Lyons can follow his recruiting and football career on his personal blog located at

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