If you saw Corona (Calif.) Centennial receiver Tyjon Lindsey in street clothes, you might not realize you were seeing one of the most dangerous high school football weapons in the country.
At 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Lindsey doesn’t appear to be an imposing figure unless you are the defender that gets the unenviable task of trying to stay in front of him. Lindsey has the hips of a professional dancer and more shakes than the local ice cream parlor. A defender that can stick with him is a rarity. Lindsey rarely looks like he is exerting himself as he makes quick and decisive cuts that free him up of anyone trying to track him.
He recently earned MVP honors for the wide receiver position at the Nike Opening Los Angeles Regional, earning one of the coveted invites to The Opening Finals. He was recently the overall MVP of the Passing Down 7v7 tournament in Fontana, Calif. leading his Pro Way team to a championship.
“They are really fun,” Lindsey said of the events. “It's just a lot of competitiveness and being one of the top teams and the top dogs, it's all eyes on you and you just have to show out and prove to everybody that you're one of the best.
“I like competing and being alongside all these other great players on some different teams and different cities. This is a great experience to see a lot of new talent.”
Lindsey was arguably the most explosive player at both events. His ability to constantly get open against man coverage and intelligence to know where to find soft spots in zone defenses has made him a top target for college coaches — something that he says is desired but exhausting.
“Day after day having to keep in contact with every coach. It's just hard. You have to remember so many names, so many numbers. Time zones. 'Oh call me at this time, call me that time.' It's just very stressful.
“It gets hectic and it blows your mind, but it's a humbling experience and you've got to be thankful. You've got to take it how it is because most people can't even experience that. So I'm not going to complain about how hard it is or anything. I can handle it.”
Though he appreciates the attention, the stress of the recruiting process has worn on Lindsey. He wants to make his college choice before the start of his senior year with the latest he’d allow the process to drag out being the middle of the season.
“I don't want to wait until signing day because that makes a lot of coaches think 'Oh yea, you're playing with me,’” Lindsey said. “I’m not sugar coating anything like I see a lot of people. I'm going to be straight up and real with everybody and I'm going to probably commit in the summer just to get the load off before the season.”
Lindsey has plenty of suitors. He recently received an Alabama offer to go with his who’s who of college football offer sheet. New school teams such as Oregon and Texas A&M that need a playmaker to help them break through the threshold as well as traditional powers like Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Everyone sees Lindsey as a unique playmaker, but where will he end up?
He has returned from a stint at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas to attend Centennial for his senior year. Born and raised in Corona, Lindsey feels he is back where he belongs.
“I'm back home. I'm back with my friends and I'm back with my family. There's nothing better than being back home.”
He could continue his Southern California stay through college by choosing USC or UCLA. Both schools have already offered and Lindsey was recently at USC for the Elite Trojan Day in February.
“I've been there a couple times, but that visit was something different even though there was a lot other athletes there and could-be future teammates. It was great honestly,” Lindsey said. “Just being with them, communicating and talking about their recruiting process. It was just cool learning about other people and not just yourself.”
Lindsey has always thought highly of USC, calling it one of his top schools since he was a kid. He’s had several friends and family members become Trojans, so he has a good idea of the education, tradition and football program.
“Going there, I always say, it'd be just like I'm at home.”
One of the keys to being successful in college football is keeping the best weapons from leaving home.
Check out the Tyjon Lindsey highlights from the Passing Down event (above) and the Nike Opening Los Angeles Regional: