Like his dad, Kyle also played offensive lineman early in his career. But unlike his dad, Kyle had other ideals about the position that was best suited for him. He felt that his combination of hands, speed and size was more suited for tight end. And he ultimately wound up at tight end. Here is his story in his own words how he not only wound up at tight end but also how he wound up at Mississippi State.
Kyle Wiley talks with Gene's Page.
Talk about your high school career in Oklahoma City, Kyle.
"I started my sophomore year as a center. We ran the Air Force option. The next year I played offensive guard, defensive end and defensive tackle."
Were you playing out of position in high school.
"Yeah, we didn't run a tight end in high school and that is what I have always wanted to play and I felt I could be good at it. Unfortunately I was always the biggest guy on the team so I wound up on the line. We were a 6A team but we were a small 6A."
How did you do as a lineman?
"I did very well. I made All-City three years in a row. I was All-State my senior year. I was picked as a pre-season All-American by Tom Lemming."
Even though you were a small lineman, relatively speaking, were you recruited out of high school?
"Colorado State, Rice and TCU followed me the whole way through but when it came to cutting time, they dropped out. I was also recruited by some small schools but I felt I could play at the next level (D-I). I had always wanted to and it has always been my dream. So I decided to see if I could fulfill my dream by going to a junior college first."
You are an excellent student so junior college was a means to an end?
Did you get to play tight end your first year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M?
How did it come about that they moved you to tight end?
"Jeremy Shockey, who played for Miami and is now playing for the New York Giants, was playing there his freshman year but he got picked up by Miami a week before we were to report. They didn't have enough tight ends so the very first day I was there I got moved to tight end. That was what I had always wanted so it was the right choice for me to go there."
How did you do your freshman year?
"I was starting but I hurt my knee in the scrimmage. I got it scoped and came back but was mainly on special teams the remainder of the year."
How did you do your sophomore year?
"I believe I caught 12 or 13 catches for 175 yards and 1 TD."
It doesn't sound like they used a tight end that much.
"No, we hardly threw the ball. We had three running backs, including one that is going to Miami, another one that is going to Tennessee-Chattanooga and another one who is with Southwest Texas right now."
Your team was obviously loaded with running backs. How did schools find out about you since you weren't used a lot?
"I hooked up with a cross-town high school coach who helped me put together a package and we sent out some film. I wrote letters to schools and asked them to call me if they were interested. That is how schools found out about me."
What kind of results did you have?
"I had a few I-AA offers that semester and could have left at the end of the semester, but I decided to wait. I was talking to West Virginia and a couple of other schools at first. They told me to wait it out which I did. They were going to give me a scholarship at first, but then they got another tight end that they wanted. Alabama talked to me and wanted me to walk-on. They said they would get me a scholarship at the end of the year if everything works out. I also talked to Utah a long time but nothing worked out there. I was also talking to Auburn and they asked me to walk-on. Another 1-AA, Sam Houston State, came along, but then Mississippi State also came along. They sounded like the best choice for me."
Why did you choose Mississippi State over Alabama and Auburn?
"It was just different. I have always been kind of a city boy, but I think it will be kind of fun to learn the other way. I am good friends with Kevin Adams (Kevin worked for Kyle's dad) and have never been hunting and fishing so he is going to take me hunting and fishing."
When you came in for an unofficial visit to Mississippi State, what coach or coaches did you get to talk to?
"Coach (Jim) Tompkins was the main one I talked to. I met all the coaches (on the unofficial visit). That is something that I like about Mississippi State, I feel like they have a real good coaching staff and are coaches that I would want to play for. I also think it would be great to go back and say that I played for Jackie Sherrill. Not many players can say that."
Did you go into your meeting with Coach Sherrill with a pre-conceived idea of what you felt he would be like?
"Actually, I had no idea what to expect when I went to see him. I had heard the rumors. I was surprised that he talked to me about academics most of the time.
"I visited about two months before my parents came for a visit. As soon as my mom walked out, she told me, 'I like him, I think you should be here.' I forgot exactly what else she said but it was something like, 'you are going to come away from here being a football player or you will leave here being a man who played football.' It was something like that."
Your dad is a former college football player. What was his impression of everything he saw at State?
"He thought it was great. He had a pre-conceived ideal about Sherrill at first. Growing up, Kevin Adams used to work for my dad and Kevin always joked around with my dad. My dad was like 'no, no, I will never wear any SEC clothes around here.' It is kind of funny to see him now. He really likes Jackie Sherrill. He came out amazed."
When are you coming into State?
"The second semester of summer school."
That about does it, Kyle. Thanks for the interview.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.