LB who runs downhill grabs Vandal interest

THERE WAS some early thought among recruiting pundits that Shelly Lyons from Corona, Calif., about 20 minutes east of Anaheim, could be a safety in college. But in adding 20 pounds since the spring -- while still shaving tenths of seconds off his 40 time -- everyone likes him at 'backer. With sideline to sideline coverage and the ability to "run downhill," one of those high on Lyons is Idaho.

Lyons now checks in at 6-1.5 and 225 pounds, with a recent personal best 40 time of 4.62.

While recruiting has slowed with most college coaches on vacation in July, Lyons holds four early offers and is hearing from more. During the May Evaluation period, Centennial High was among the stops on Vandals' defensive coordinator's Mark Criner's itinerary.

"The defensive coordinator came to my school, he hadn't offered me yet then. About two weeks later Idaho offered me on the phone," said Lyons. "I haven't heard a lot from them lately but I talked to the defensive coordinator on the phone and he was cool. He's a great guy."

Lyons said what Idaho liked most was his size and football speed.

"He told me about their system and about how all their (top) five linebackers are all (mostly) seniors so I'd have a chance to go in there and play right away. Idaho liked my size, and then the way I come downhill -- the coach told me they really like the linebackers who can do that," said Lyons.

AMONG THOSE LURKING include Washington and Ole Miss. Both are showing increasing interest of late, said Lyons.

Distance will not be as important as the school and football team and program, but it will likely at least be a consideration.

"Washington told me they want to watch me play this year, and that they'd like have me down there at Washington," he said. "Coach (Mike) D(enbrock) texts me a lot, and makes me feel like he really wants me up there. And San Diego State was the first one to offer me. They're close by."

Arizona has also been in touch. Utah (offer) is high on his list and he may take an unofficial out to UNLV, another of the four offering schools, later this summer.

LYONS SAID he would probably make a verbal commitment after the season, but was also open to doing it sooner.

Lyons racked up 92 tackles over his junior campaign, logging three sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

Shelly Lyons profile

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