Cyril Noland might not have any scholarship offers, but thanks to a red-hot performance at combines across the past few months the Ruston, La. defensive back is now starting to get the attention of college coaches across the country.
Noland was one of the top defensive backs at the National Underclassmen Combine in Zachary in early March, running a 4.6 40-yard dash and a 4.47 shuttle. He later made stops at combines in Dallas and New Orleans, earning top honors at both camps.
A big-hitting safety on Friday nights, the 6-foot-1, 182-pound prospect has turned into a combine warrior this spring.
“I had a good junior year, but the coaches are calling now because of what they have heard coming out of these combines I have gone to recently,” Noland said. “I just found out that I have one of the best SPARQ Nike ratings in the entire country. At the Houston NFTC last weekend I had the best rating at the entire camp regardless of position.
“I also won the MVP award for the defensive backs. Not only did I beat out the Texas guys, but they gave me the award over some Louisiana guys like Darion Monroe, Jordan Baptiste, and Trevon Stewart. We are all guys that will go and compete at LSU for an offer this summer, so that performance gave me some confidence. I’m also just happy that Louisiana stood out over the Texas kids.”
Though no scholarships have come through yet, Noland feels that will all change now that Ruston High is into spring practice and college coaches are able to stop in and evaluate him in person.
“Alabama just came by, and Nebraska and Texas A&M are coming through,” he said. “Ole Miss and Indiana also came, and then Tulane watched me on (Tuesday). Penn State is coming next week. Most coaches are watching me practice, and then they go and check on my transcripts and academic situation.”
As for LSU, defensive backs coach Ron Cooper plans to visit Noland next week.
“He told me on Tuesday that he is going to come out and watch me practice, so I’m looking forward to that,” Noland said. “I feel like an offer is close. The only thing left is coming to camp. That’s the thing holding me back. If I have a good spring and summer, I will be in great shape.”
After making an unofficial visit to Baton Rouge and keeping in contact with Cooper over the phone, Noland feels as if things are lined up for him to join the class if an offer is handed down.
“I went to campus back in March, and coach Cooper has said that I should make the first camp session, then come back again once the commitments all go for the second session in July,” he said. “Coach Cooper just keeps telling me that I am someone who the staff considers to be very close to offering.”
Lined up as a starter at free safety, Noland finished his junior season with 27 solo tackles, 23 assisted stops, three interceptions, and a forced fumble.
“I think my strength is that I trust my instincts and am consistent,” Noland said. “I like to get physical, with or without pads. I want to strip the ball on every play; just be aggressive.”