For Byrne, 6-foot-4, 280-pounds, getting back out on the field felt good, and he was able to play at a high level.
"It felt great being back out there on the field with the guys, especially beating a great team like Mentor," Byrne stated after the game. "All of our guys get along so well, and we have great camaraderie on this team. We lost a lot of great seniors from last year, but we still have a lot of talent on this team."
"I played pretty well for my first game back, and I had to shake off a little bit of rust after missing two weeks, but I felt great out there," he added. "My knee felt good tonight, and I thought I played alright, but there are definitely things I can improve on. That's what I intend to do this week in practice."
With offers from Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan State and West Virginia, Byrne is a wanted man in recruiting circles. He is also in contact with Michigan, although the Wolverines have yet to offer.
"I still have my top three of Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan, in no order, and nothing has changed there," he explained. "I'm not really concentrating too much on recruiting, as I'm mainly focused on our season. I'm going to go to Notre Dame for their game with Michigan later in September, but that's the only game I have for sure to see."
"I like all three schools very much, and even though Michigan hasn't offered yet, I still talk to them often," he continued. "Michigan has told me I'm at the top of their board, and I know they've stacked their offensive line the past few years, so I can see that they might not offer me."
"Ohio State is just a great school and I just to spoke to Coach (Ed) Warriner on Thursday of this week," Byrne said. "I call him about every week, just so we can get to know each other and talk about things. I was really impressed with Notre Dame when I visited there, and I really like Coach (Harry) Hiestand a lot. He's a great offensive line coach, and I'm keeping all my options right now. I'm looking forward to seeing their game with Michigan, and because of our schedule that's the only college game I can get to this season."
EVALUATION: For being inactive since the final scrimmage with Canton McKinley four weeks ago, Byrne played really well against Mentor. He bends well and uses his hands well in pass protection. Byrne will need to add weight and strength in the weight room to be a more effective run blocker, but he has the frame to hold more weight. He is easily one of the top 2014 prospects in Ohio, and possibly the top offensive lineman.