In the small Oregon town of Hillsboro a home town hero has arisen and is a year away from stepping out into the world to show what he can do. Every town has one. The guy that they all say is "Big time D-1 Talent". Usually they are wrong. In this case they are completely right.
Being based out of here makes this story more personal to us. Our broad perspective as a writers allows us to see athletes from all over the Country. Objectively we have to say that here in Oregon we have an athlete the likes of which we have not seen before.
At 6'5" and 230 pounds Colt Lyerla is imposing. His combine measurements have been in a word "sick". Once in a while you see one of these numbers on a card but to see them all on one sheet is crazy.
40 yard sprint: 4.60
Pro Agility Shuttle: 4.20
Vertical Leap: 39.5 inches
Bench Reps: 27
Broad Jump: 10'10" (National Combine Record)
For someone his size these numbers are unfathomable. Imagine having a guy like this coming at you from the backfield or out in or even down from space. Lyerla has been flagged multiple times in the past for hurdling over defenders. It is both amazing and frightening.
"I have never seen anything like him. His numbers have been so impressive and his potential has just started to be tapped," offered Master Strength and Speed Coach Mark McLaughlin of Performance Training Center.
PTC has been rated one of the Top 10 Training Facilities in the US by Muscle and Fitness magazine. McLaughlin has trained numerous D-1 and Pro Athletes and uses a system to measure the athletes potential called Omega Wave.
Omegawave systems monitor the function of multiple biological systems and provide a comprehensive picture of changes in athletes, as they respond to training, life choices, and emotional stress. As a result PTC can tailor training sessions to match the athletes condition and readiness for max results.
Lyerla proved last year that all the weight room and combine results were not hype. All of that skill is actually packaged in the body of a true football player. He led his Spartans to a State Championship last year as a Junior and was humble and quiet in his role.
"The kid is humble. He rarely takes credit and yet we all know how amazing he is," offered team mate Joe Ashby who was Defensive Player of the Year in Oregon.
Look at what Colt did this past season. The numbers speak for themselves.
1,543 Yards Rushing with 26 TD's
843 yards receiving with 13 TD's
25 Yards per Catch Average
Yards After Catch was over 15
369 Yards in Kick returns 1 TD
That is only 2,755 yards of total offense and 40 Touchdowns. That did appear to include his 198 yard effort in the State Title game.
Despite his Offensive accolades insiders speculate that it is his defensive ability that make him most appealing. There was rarely a play that he did not get in on and at the linebacker spot he is a force. He can project as a TE or Slot and it would be foolish not to see that. But defense is where a frame and physique like his can find its way onto the field for many years to come.
"I am going to look at my options. Some teams are saying offense, many are saying defense, and others are saying either," said Colt adding "As much as I love having the ball in my hands my goal ultimately is to earn a place on the field Saturdays and then Sundays so wherever I project best for that makes the most sense to me."
He was Oregon State MVP for 2009; First Team All State Offense, First Team All State Defense, and the NWOC Player of the Year.
This Summer he blew up the scene as he broke the Broad Jump and Vertical Jump records held by the Carolina Panthers Jonathan Stewart. The Broad Jump record was 10'8" but Colt broke that with three separate jumps of 10'10". His Vert was 40" beating a 38.5" previous mark.
"He reminds you 100% of Brian Urlacher and can do all the things he did and dare I say...maybe more! He has great feet, tremendous explosion off the ball, and spectacular body control," said Football Combine Master Dave Schuman.
"This Summer I will probably make a Nike NFTC Camp back east somewhere. Miami wants me to come to camp and are recruiting me really hard so I think I might go out there and see what that is like. I am wide open right now on where I am going and where I will consider," added Lyerla.
He sits at 15-20 offers and his phone voice mail is always overflowing. Raise by a single mother Colt has a small circle of coaches and advisers he can rely on for guidance.
"It gets crazy over here at my office...in almost 30 years I have personally never seen a kid like this," says Hillsboro Athletic Director Steve Drake.
A good student Colt often finds himself dwelling on his future. He admits that the pressure is great and sometimes hard to deal with. He has let Drake and his lifelong mentor and Coach Larry Matthews deal with a lot of this which has helped.
"We are not looking for offers. They are just coming in. I have to nail down 5 good schools and then get my visits going. It would be nice to enjoy school and some friends too before high school is over. Whatever happens I will be ready."
Texas Tech, Tennessee, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, and Miami are all in on the act and there are many more.
Rivals.com top Analyst Barry Every compares Lyerla to NFL Rookie of the Year and former USC Trojan Brian Cushing. He feels he is really that good.
"My future will hopefully be a good one. Right now I am bearing down on some school work and really looking forward to getting back to Coach Mark's gym at PTC. The Goal is to come in to the season at 235 pounds and faster then I was."
Like many top recruits School can become a second priority. Lyerla has been a good student in the past and has the GPA to qualify. He has however slipped some according to sources and this will remain his only issue he needs to focus on if he is to live out his dreams. Let's all hope that he buckles down and ends up doing just that.
This story would not be complete without replaying the Miracle Catch he made this season with 5 seconds left to win a mid season game against cross town rival the Glencoe Crimson Tide. A picture Album is also attached if you want a closer look at what this humble champions work on the field looks like up close and personal.