I'd heard hints about Jeff Byers, the aformentioned 6-4, 274 pound lineman from Ft. Collins Col. (home of CSU). Hints that despite being average sized (especially for a top O-lineman) he was anything but an average prospect. My calls to the Byers home Sunday shed considerable light on this.
The first time I called Jeff's sister answered.
"He is landing right about now from a trip to visit some California schools. He should be home in about an hour."
I decided to give him a little more time to get home and catch his breath, so I called two hours later. This time his mother answered.
"He and his dad went right away to the gym to go work out! We just got home from visiting Los Angeles -- Jeff, his father and I, and his younger brother all went. Jeff and his dad visited colleges and Jeff's brother and I went to Universal Studios. It was a drizzly weekend in LA, but today it cleared up and was nice. "
I asked her if it was true that Jeff would be visiting Michigan this summer.
"Yes, at the end of June. I'm not sure of the exact dates. Jeff will be home in less than an hour because he has to go to his brother's guitar recital. So you can call back and ask him."
California and Midwest visits? A workout warrior? Guitar recital!? I was starting to get a picture of an exceptional kid in an exceptional family. The next time I called Jeff answered. I started out by asking about his Calif. trip.
"We visited USC and UCLA. I liked them both, pretty much equally."
Are you making a summer trip to the Midwest, including Michigan?
"Yes. On June 26th I'm visiting Notre Dame, on the 27th Michigan, and on the 28th Ohio State. That will be my last trip. I've already visited Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Colorado State (his home-town school), and Stanford."
Has Michigan offered you a scholarship?
"Yes. My May call from Michigan came from Coach Carr, and he offered me a scholarship. Coach Malone (Terry Malone recruits Col. for U-M) sent me a written offer as well."
Who else has offered you?
"I've got the list here: Oklahoma, Kansas State, UCLA, Colorado State, Nebraska, Oregon, Colorado, Texas Tennessee, USC, BC, Iowa State, LSU, Alabama, Washington State, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio State, Miami, Washington, Michigan State, Iowa, Stanford, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Notre Dame, Ca-Berkeley, and Fresno State."
"No, actually I don't have a top school yet."
I've seen you listed at 6-4, 275 lbs. Is that correct? And what are the rest of your stats?
"Yeah, that's exactly right. My 40 yard dash time is 4.76 seconds. My bench press is 385 lbs., and I have a 30 inch vertical jump."
Note: at that point I was DEFNINTELY getting the picture of a very-top recruit! I asked him, "With all those offers, your academics must be strong as well?"
"I have a 3.95 GPA and a 25 ACT score."
What is it that all these colleges like about you -- what is your forte as a player?
"My forte ... well I have good speed, but I'd say my forte is my passion, my passion for football. I love to hit! And it helps that my team has great running backs to block for. I actually go to Loveland High which is closest to my home, even though I live in Ft. Collins. We went 5-4 last year, but we have seventeen returning starters this year ..."
How about camps? I didn't see you mentioned as far as a Nike camp, correct? And what about summer camps?
"There wasn't a Nike Camp anywhere near here, so I didn't go to one of those. This summer I'll go to the Wyoming team camp with my team. And I'm going to the Nebraska camp with bunch of my buddies." (Note: Lincoln Neb. is a half-day's drive from Ft. Collins.)
Do you think you'll make a decision early or late?
"All I can say is that I'll make decision when the time feels right."
Jeff is early in his recruiting process and so wasn't too revealing about things. But my interviews yesterday did reveal why he may be rated as one of the top ten high school offensive linemen in the USA next year, and perhaps even the #1 offensive guard.
Does this LM Have A U-M Offer? You Bet!
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