This week the Michigan State Spartans picked up a commitment from Jamal Lyles, a linebacker out of Southfield â€“ Lathrup High School.Â Lyles is another in a long line of impressive finds by the Michigan State staff, and should prove to be a force when he takes the field for the Spartans.
Jamal boasts an impressive offer list that included impressive programs like Iowa, Standford, and several other BCS schools.Â Itâ€™s no wonder why.Â With solid 4.6 speed, and a 6â€™3, 215 lb frame Lyles boasts all of the measurables that a college coach looks for in an outside linebacker.Â Lyles should have no problem adding some bulk to his frame without sacrificing the speed necessary to be an effective linebacker.
Lyles biggest attribute on the field is his sideline-to-sideline speed.Â In watching game tape of Jamal it became apparent that no matter where the ball was run he had the ability to run it down and make the play.Â Watching Lyles play is very reminiscent of watching NFL player Keith Bulluck play in his prime.Â Both players were always around the ball, and used their long frames to their advantage in keeping blockers at armâ€™s length and shedding them with ease.
Jamal may be a beast on the field, but his off-field demeanor couldnâ€™t be further from that.Â He is a relatively quiet young man, who when you hear him speak itâ€™s hard to imagine him inflicting the pain he does on the gridiron.Â â€œOff the field Iâ€™m a very nice guy, and a very friendly person,â€ he said, â€œbut when I get on the field I turn the switch off, and go into my gladiator mode and try to play as hard as I can every play.â€
He also understands that pure talent, which he clearly has, can only get a player so far.Â Jamal takes improving his game very seriously, and that shows in practice.Â â€œIâ€™m always willing to learn, always keeping my eyes and ears open,â€ he explained.Â He then went on to explain his philosophy for improving as a football player.Â â€œIf you think you know it all you wonâ€™t be as good a player as you want to be,â€ he continued, â€œI always try to be like a sponge and absorb all I can on the practice field.â€
That passion for improving has carried over to the classroom for Lyles as well. Â He knows that under Coach Mark Dantonio, the term â€œStudent Athleteâ€ isnâ€™t an oxymoron. Â At Michigan State the football players must take their academics seriously, and this shouldnâ€™t be a problem for Lyles, heâ€™s already figured out what it takes to succeed in class during high school.Â He said, â€œIn my lifetime Iâ€™ve seen so many people fail, and I donâ€™t want to be one of those people.â€Â He went on:Â â€œFootball isnâ€™t going to last forever.Â I have 30 plus years to do something besides football, so Iâ€™m going to have to use my mind and intelligence. Â So thatâ€™s why I push so hard in the classroom.â€
Jamal also went into his reasons for choosing to become a Spartan over the other notable schools that had offered him a scholarship. Â He explained that when he went to East Lansing for his visits that everything just felt right. Â â€œIâ€™ve been up there 4 times and I got to see a practice and that really made me want to be a Spartan,â€ he said. Â He also mentioned the great work done by super-recruiter, Brad Salem. Â â€œMy recruiting coach, Brad Salem, he did a heck of a job recruiting me and we built a nice relationship.â€
Building relationships like this is why Michigan State is turning its football program around, and great players who are also great kids like Jamal Lyles are certainly helping to do that. Â Jamal Lyles is excited to be a Spartan, and the Spartan Nation is excited to have him aboard.