Sam Webb: Talk about last season. How did things go for you on the football field?
Jimmy Byrne: "We got to the playoffs and we had injury to the offensive line. The coaches thought it would be best to put me in. So I started the last four games of the playoffs, including the state championship. "
Sam Webb: What it was like moving up? You clearly had success. Was it harder than you expected, or was it what you thought it would be?
Jimmy Byrne: “It was definitely a big jump from JV, but I had been getting mental reps throughout practice the entire year. So when it came time I was ready. “
Sam Webb: What’s your height, weight, and 40 time?
Jimmy Byrne: “6-foot-4, 285-pounds, and a 5.2 forty.”
Sam Webb: As far as recruiting is concerned did you hear anything from colleges in the four games you played, or did all the recruiting attention start coming your way after you won the state title?
Jimmy Byrne: “I didn’t hear anything till after the season, but during the playoffs in the four games I did start I went up against four division-one defensive ends. I think that really helped me. My technique is really something I have been trying to perfect since I got to Ignatius a few years ago. I think it all started to build up, and after that people started to realize it. “
Sam Webb: Who were the defensive ends you faced?
Jimmy Byrne: “Tom Strobel who is actually going to Michigan, Chris Wormley who is also going to Michigan… he plays for Toledo Whitmer, Darryl Render who is going to Pitt, and Taco Charlton who was a junior this year.”
Sam Webb: Recap for me how you think you performed in each of those games?
Jimmy Byrne: “I say I held my own. By no means did I dominate those players. They are great players too. They are just as big, fast, and strong as I am… if not more. I definitely had a challenge, but I came in every week prepared and I think I held my own. “
Sam Webb: I know they’re all good, but which guy would you say gave you the most trouble?
Jimmy Byrne: “Definitely Chris Wormley. When I was watching film on him I thought he would be more of a speed guy. When I got on the field I realized how strong he was, and he still had that speed too. He was definitely the hardest one to block. “
Sam Webb: Back to recruiting… what schools have you been hearing from the most?
Jimmy Byrne: “Ohio State and Illinois both offered. I have been in contact with them since January or February… around then. Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford… they were all at the school within the last month, so things are really starting to pick up for me.”
Sam Webb: Things have picked up so quickly. What was your initial reaction to all the recruiting attention when it first began?
Jimmy Byrne: “It was shocking… you know… to only play four games, I didn’t really expect the whole recruiting process to start until after my junior year. So for it to start early it is really exciting. I’m just going to keep working to make sure I am ready for when I get there. “
Sam Webb: Have you visited any of these schools before?
Jimmy Byrne: “No I have all those visits setup for this month. I am actually going to be at Michigan this Sunday. I’ll be at Notre Dame on June 16th. And I’ll be at Ohio State on the 21 and 22 for their camp.“
Sam Webb: So what do you know about Michigan at this point?
Jimmy Byrne: “I am not too familiar (with Michigan). I grew up an Ohio State fan. I’ve obviously seen the rivalry over the years. I know Michigan is great school though. that is why I really want to check it out. I know that their program is really starting to pick up. I think that they are really good program, so I just want to check it out. “
Sam Webb: Growing up a Buckeye, you learn to hate Michigan. How do you put that to the side during the recruiting process?
Jimmy Byrne: “That is the funny thing… I always grew up watching (Ohio State)… but the more I think about it, when I pick a college or where I want to spend my life for the next four or five years, it is going to come down more than just a rivalry. The academics are going to play a part, the coaching, and the program.”
Sam Webb: What about your family? Would it be as easy for them to put it to the side?
Jimmy Byrne: “My family is really supportive they will let me go wherever I want to go. They just want to make sure it is best for me.”
Sam Webb: I know this has all happened quickly, but have you come up with a timeline for how you would you’re your recruitment to play out?
Jimmy Byrne: “I think I would like to make a decision before my senior year, so maybe going into that summer. But this process has started really early, so I have a lot of time. I’m not going to try to rush it. So probably before my senior year though. "
Sam Webb: Last one for you. Do you have a favorite and or a top five?
Jimmy Byrne: “Not right now. I’m keeping my options open. I think I have an idea. After I visit all these schools… that’s when I feel I will have a better idea. “