Coach Spotlight: Kyler Kerbyson

Knoxville Catholic High School may become a new talent pipeline for the hometown Vols especially for offensive linemen. Daniel Hood, the '08 Lineman of the Year in Tennessee's AAA, became part of the UT class of 2009. The school's latest product, Kyler Kerbyson, also selected Mr. Football AAA Lineman of the Year in '10, is staying in town to attend Tennessee.

Catholic Head Coach Scott Meadows says Kyler Kerbyson is a player with "all the tools" necessary to get it done at the SEC level.

"There are three things that stand out to me," said Meadows on Kerbyson's game. "The first is his hands, seconds his feet, and third his football smarts. He knows the game, knows what he needs to do in almost every situation, and in turn helps make his teammates better. He has the "it" factor."

Kerbyson, 6-5, 305, was voted captain by his teammates after the season's end. As a senior he was awarded such honors as All-State (AAA) and a member of The Tennessean's Dream Team for the state's top players at their position.

"Kyler didn't become a starter for us until his junior year," said Meadows. "Coming in to that season he had just turned 16, so he was really still growing into his body. He showed excellent athleticism at right tackle, had a good year and performed very well at camps.

"It was really right after signing day last year when Vandy offered, then Arkansas and things kind of snowballed from there."

Before making his decision in August, Kerbyson visited Duke (three times), Vanderbilt, Alabama, and Florida. He was also offered by USC, UCLA, Stanford, Kansas, Illinois, Maryland, Syracuse, Virginia, Memphis, and Tennessee.

"A total of 48 colleges came by the school to watch him play," said Meadows, "and they were all impressed with his feet. He loves the Vols, but wanted to look around and find the very best fit for him. He went to Duke so many times because he really liked David Cutcliffe, but at Tennessee he felt at home.

"Kyler built a great relationship with Coach Dooley, Coach (Jim) Chaney, and Coach (Harry) Hiestand during the recruiting process. Plus, we're only about 15 minutes away from campus so he doesn't have to travel far. Also, his grandfather played at Tennessee, so he has family ties to the school."

In 2010, the Catholic Fighting Irish passed 252 times and Kerbyson allowed zero sacks and graded out at 92-percent on the season. He was productive on the other side of the ball as well leading the team in tackles with 86 (27 for loss), five sacks, anf forced three fumbles.

"A lot of guys, with a commitment in the bag, tend to rest on their past accomplishments and become complacent in their senior season," said Meadows. "This wasn't the case with Kyler. He went above and beyond what we asked out of him. It's a credit to his incredible work ethic."

The Irish, a team that won state in 2008, went 7-5 this past season. They were hit by the injury bug early losing five starters in pre-season. They lost in the 2nd round to the eventual state champ, Columbia Central. Kerbyson now focuses his attention to the classroom and staying fit for camp with the Volunteers this summer.

"Kyler's just an incredible young man," Meadows said. "As good as he is on the field, he's even better off it. He's everything you want in a player. He doesn't get into trouble, does well in the classroom, and tries his best to make himself better while helping those around him better themselves.

"Education is very important to Kyler. When he was looking at schools, it was always education first, football second. He's been a quiet leader at our school, and he's going to do fine at Tennessee."

Current Vols Dorian Cozart and Nick Branum also played their high school ball at Knoxville Catholic. Kerbyson joins Devrin Young as two Knoxville natives in the Tennessee class of 2011. Kerbyson wore No. 75 for the Catholic Fighting Irish.

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