Cyphers One to Watch in 2014

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian has a good number of talented underclassmen on their roster and sophomore defensive back Malik Cyphers is no exception...

In fact, Malik Cyphers, who formerly played at Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne, was verbally offered by SMU by former coach Adrian Klemm, the current offensive line coach at UCLA. Post sophomore season, Cyphers, who is recovering from a knee injury, is using the off-season to his advantage to return to the field this season stronger than ever.

"I'm just working to get back in shape. I'm coming off of a knee injury so I'm working to get stronger. That's my focus right now. I'm also on the track team and I'm working on getting both my feet and hips right. I'm making sure I'm doing my job and benefitting to the team, just trying to stay healthy," said Cyphers.

Cyphers has been training with the 1925 All-Stars 7-on-7 camps and is also spending time working with the Lions to improve as a team.

"We're just trying to get stronger and get better. We had a young squad and it was a good opportunity for us to see how it feels to get to a championship and what it takes for our team together. We actually are looking strong this year; we have a lot of returners and we're working hard. It's going to be a good season," he said.

Though Oaks Christian is graduating three of their star athletes, Cyphers thinks the team will come back strong.

"Watching seniors Ishmael Adams, Jordan Payton, and Carlos Mendoza has been good for our team. Just watching how they practice and how hard they work, seeing what it takes to get to the championship and to the Division-I level is a big benefit for us," he said.

Though analysts currently see Cyphers playing cornerback at the next level, he's keeping his position options open.

"I try to be a multiple position player, so I play safety and corner, and maybe even some offense this year," he said.

Cyphers, who credits his football IQ and knowledge of the game as his biggest strength as a player, is already looking toward the future in finding a program that will fit him best.

"I've seen a lot of schools from the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, from all over the country. I have a few that are on top, some of my favorites, like California, USC, UCLA, Florida, LSU, all the top-notch schools that could benefit me as a player and as a student," he says.

Cyphers holds a 3.0 GPA and is looking for a program that is academically strong in addition to having a talented football team.

"The California schools all have high academics and I think they'll fit my major. I want to study business and maybe one day be a sports analyst. Football isn't going to always be there, so it just fits me as a student-athlete and they all have great football programs that could take me to the next level," he said.

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