Recruit Profile: TE Blake Ayles

Prior to this year, it was very rare for a junior or sophomore in high school to get offered a full-ride scholarship, but now a days schools are looking to shape their recruiting classes a lot earlier then years past. There is no question that the recruiting cycle has picked up more then ever this year, and players are being offered earlier and earlier.

One player that has benefited greatly from this "jump start" in recruiting is junior tight end prospect Blake Ayles of Lutheran HS (CA.). Ayles has been a stand-out performer since his sophomore year at Lutheran HS, but has really picked his game up to another level this season. Ayles, along with USC commitments Michael Reardon and Aaron Corp, has led the Lancers to an 8-1 record, including this weekend's victory over Mater Dei.

Ayles recently received big news after Lutheran's victory over Santa Margarita, earning a scholarship offers from one of college's elite programs. Ayles hauled in nine passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the game, earning him a full-ride scholarship from the home-town USC Trojans.

"It was after the Santa Margarita game two weeks ago," said Ayles. "Some of the SC coaches came to watch Aaron (Corp) and Michael (Reardon) play. I had a pretty good game and Coach Carroll thought I did really well. They ended up offering me a scholarship right there, and I was really surprised."

Ayles already has around ten scholarship offers from schools such as UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Ole Miss, and Nebraska among others. But this scholarship was different, and Ayles was shocked to say the least.

"I was very surprised," commented Ayles. "I know they don't offer a lot of young people, so I was very surprised about the offer. SC is one of the three schools I wanted to be offered by, along with UCLA and Notre Dame."

And while Ayles is only a junior, he has created a list of three schools that stand out above the rest.

"SC is definitely up at the top. It would probably be them, Notre Dame, and UCLA."

When asked to describe what he liked about each of the schools previously mentioned, Ayles responded.

USC – "The crowd really stood out. I went to a game with Aaron (Corp) two weeks ago and the crowd was amazing. I also like how great they've been playing the past couple years. When I went down to Junior Day, I really enjoyed how fired up the coaches were and the kind of energy they bring. I also talked to Troy Van Blarcom, who went to Lutheran, and he was saying how he really liked practice even though he is a kicker."

Notre Dame – "I'm Catholic, and it's also a great school. I know that they have (Jimmy) Clausen going there next year."

UCLA – "They just really use their tight ends well every year. They had Mercedes Lewis there, and it's in California too."

With two current USC commitments on Lutheran's roster, it would be easy to assume that Ayles will likely follow suit, but Ayles insists he will keep an open mind.

"I have a few schools I really like, and I probably won't make my decision until the beginning of next season. Aaron is always in my ear about SC, especially since he is the quarterback. He brought me to the game two weeks ago and took me around campus, and I loved everything that I saw."

There is no question that Ayles is one of, if not the top tight end in the state for the class of 2008. Ayles has put up big numbers in many of his games this year, so it is easy to see why college recruiters are in hot pursuit of the talented junior. Ayles does feel there are a few aspects of his game that set him apart, along with a few things he is working to improve on.

"My hands," said Ayles of his main strength. "I'm also a real physical blocker. I'm really working on improving my speed and avoiding collisions with linebackers."

Ayles is definitely a name to remember in the following year, and stay tuned to WeAreSc.com for the newest updates and Trojan recruiting news.


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