While there are still more than 16 months to go before National Signing Day for the class of 2011, Stanford appears to be in a good spot with one of the best junior prospects in the entire Southeast region.
Scout 100 safety/linebacker Wayne Lyons of Dillard High School (Fort Lauderdale, Flor.) has received early interest and offers from schools like Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida, and Vanderbilt, but currently favors the one West Coast school that has extended him an offer and was the very first program to deliver its offer on September 1.
"Stanford's pretty much leading right now," Lyons told The Bootleg after returning home from a four-day unofficial visit to Stanford. "I was real comfortable there and I loved my time."
Lyons and his mother flew out to the Bay Area on Friday afternoon and took a red eye flight back home Monday Night.
"I enjoyed every part - it was an amazing trip," Lyons said. "All the people on campus were extremely nice all the professors were extremely nice. The whole atmosphere is really friendly and nice."
After meeting with several coaches and going on a quick campus tour on Friday, Lyons and his mother returned to campus on Saturday to experience the game-day routine.
"I met them at the coaches office
in the morning," Lyons said. "I got to go to the team meetings and see how
everything goes. They had it where like the non-traveling teams had a scrimmage
to see who could try to play for the top four spots so they could join the
travel team, so that was real cool."
Lyons also got to sit in on some of the position group meetings and meet personally with defensive backs coach Clayton White.
"Coach White sat down with me when we were going over the film," Lyons said. "He showed me exactly where he could see me playing that when I get there and the different jobs he wanted me to do."
Lyons said that while some schools like him more at the outside linebacker position, Stanford views him as a strong safety in the Delano Howell mold.
"They like me at strong safety because the way the scheme is the strong safety sometimes comes up in the box and protects against the run and goes on blitzes, things like that," Lyons said.
Lyons thinks that his skill-set matches up well with the responsibilities that come with playing the strong safety position.
"I have a nose for the ball," Lyons said. "Before the play comes I can read the line. I know a lot of reads that can put me ahead. I'm smart in the game. I know a lot of football because my dad is an old coach."
After going through Saturday activities with the team, Lyons was in attendance for Stanford's 34-14 shellacking of then #24 ranked Washington.
"They put on a really good show," Lyons said. "They really showed up. I was happy for them. They did what they had to do to get a big win. They were saying like the whole time I was up there that it's a big game and they all stuck together and won."
Over the final few days of his visit, Lyons was able to get better acquainted with the campus and some current Stanford players.
"I got to know Jamal [WR Jamal-Rashad Patterson], Terrence [DT Terrence Stephens], Stepfan [RB Stepfan Taylor] and Drew [WR Drew Terrell]," Lyons said. That's who I was hanging with most of the time."
Among other topics, Lyons said that Stanford's recent success in recruiting the Southern part of the country came up in his conversation with Patterson.
"That's where Jamal is from and he was telling me that once they started to recruit Southern players and get more speed, that's when the W's started coming," Lyons said. "Getting a lot of athletes that can run has pretty much helped turn the program around."
Spending all that time on campus also allowed Lyons to familiarize himself with Stanford's many restaurants and eateries. The six-foot, 190-pounder seemed particularly impressed with the numerous buffets on campus.
"They eat real good on campus," Lyons said. "They have a lot of different restaurants on campus that you can choose from. Most of it is all-you-can-eat buffet-style, so you get full wherever you eat. It was real nice."
Before heading home. Lyons also had the opportunity to meet with head coach Jim Harbaugh, who expressed his delight that Lyons and his mother were able to make the trip.
"He was just saying that he was glad I was able to come up and how interested his program is in me," Lyons said. "They think they could really benefit from having me on campus and he said they really love me."
The simple fact that Stanford was able to get a Southeastern prospect of Lyons' caliber on campus nearly a year and a half before 2011 National Signing Day speaks volumes about the level to which Stanford has ascended recruiting-wise.
But in this particular instance, Lyons high level of interest in the Cardinal might say more about him as a person than Stanford as an institution.
A likely future engineering major who participated in a Robotics class in the ninth grade, Lyons was ranked number one in his sophomore class with a sparkling 4.8235 GPA.
He is also a second-term class president at Dillard High School (which produced current 49ers star running back Frank Gore!) and a National Honor Society member.
Those are not accolades most high school football players would ever dream of achieving. And suffice it to say, Lyons will look at factors well beyond football when it comes time for him to make his ultimate college decision.
"I'm looking at what I could get out of the university academics-wise and playing-wise," Lyons said. "Also the program, how it is, and what best 'fits' me because I'm really big into school - so academics are a factor also."
Lyons' current offer list seems to reflect that criteria well. He received September 1 offers from Notre Dame, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Duke, and West Virginia. More schools, such as the University of Florida are likely to follow suit.
And Lyons, who grew up a Florida fan and currently has a sister attending the school, wants to gather more information and take visits to the other schools that are recruiting him before making a college decision.
"I'll wait until later on, for my senior season," Lyons said. "I still haven't seen the other schools."
In the meantime, stay to tuned to The Bootleg as we keep you updated with the latest and greatest from this elite 2011 target.
find out more about Wayne Lyons visit his personal blog by clicking here.
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