MIDDLETON – Thoughts and opinions on Middleton offensive lineman, and Wisconsin commit, Kayden Lyles following the Cardinals’ 28-0 victory over Janesville Parker in a Big Eight conference game Friday.
There are a lot of things to list here in terms of where Lyles is in his development. Listed at 6-3 and 325 pounds, Lyles is stellar off the ball. It’s even more impressive when taking into account that he played center Friday (he’s also played guard in previous games), meaning he’s a slight beat behind the other linemen in terms of making contact. Immediately out of his stance Lyles stays low and gets his hands right inside the shoulder pads – a textbook maneuver – and stands up the defender.
Throughout Friday’s game he would go against Vikings defensive tackle Juan Harris, currently a two-star commit to Indiana. It was no contest. Despite Harris having 70 pounds on him, Lyles rarely got pushed back because of his sound technique and leverage and got the better of Harris on nearly every play.
When he doesn’t have a nose tackle lined up in front of him, Lyles’ footwork allows him to move from side to side and quickly make contact, keeping the same pad level and delivering the same kind of upward strike to neutralize a charging rusher.
In run blocking, Lyles is just a mauler. On consecutive plays in the third quarter he just flattened people while moving to his left. He’s agile and athletic, too, allowing him to finish his plays.
Most high school kids need to add weight and/or strength heading into college. Lyles might be the exception to that rule. He is well built and knows how to use his body effectively.
Areas of Improvement
Getting picky here but the one area where Lyles struggled slightly was on his pull blocks on tosses and screens. Lyles could get out in front without a problem but there were times where he didn’t hit his defender square, not knocking that player off course, or didn’t block anybody. Considering he’ll more than likely be a guard at Wisconsin (and will be ask to do a lot of pull blocks to either side), this will be an important trait to perfect.
There’s no free agency in high school football, but Middleton has to feel like it hit the jackpot with Lyles. With older brother Kare Lyles going through his true freshman season at Wisconsin and Kayden planning to enroll early, the family decided to move to the area to be close to one another through the college years (their dad, Kevin, played at Wisconsin in the 90s).
Having won state championships as a sophomore and junior at Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro, Lyles has brought a silent form of leadership to the program.
“He’s a man of few words but quite focused,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “When he talks people listen. He’s just an outstanding football player, probably more important an outstanding young man. He’s a high character kid. He’s a leader with how he plays. The first week of practice and we’re not in pads, he doesn’t take a play off. Everything is 100 percent on every play. That leading by example has been really good for our kids. Hopefully it’s contagious.”
The Cardinals only had three possessions in the second half because of their ability to control the clock, establish the run and wear down Parker. Through six games Middleton is averaging 203.7 rushing yards per games. Lyles is a big reason for both of those facts. The only four-star prospect currently in Wisconsin’s 2017 class, Lyles is worth every penny and can be a high impact player for the program.