LIST OF LYON FOOTBALL 2017 COMMITMENTS
BATESVILLE, Ark. – For most NCAA colleges, National Signing Day is a 'red letter day' as they make a big push to sign high school and transfer student-athletes for the upcoming year. But for NAIA institutions like Lyon College, that push began when the 2016 season ended. Although it's a measuring point for the Scots' football coaching staff, there are still three months of hard recruiting still left. As of Wednesday, the Scots have signed 34 players since the end of the season, which marks the largest number at this point in the three years of recruiting.
Lyon head football coach Kyle Phelps, who completed his first year at the helm of the program and helps the Scots to a much-improved 3-8 finish, said he's happy with that number, but knows his staff still has work ahead to get the Scots' roster up to 120 players by the start of training camp in August. The number of signees and returners is currently approximately 90.
"I think 34 (commitments) is a good number right now," Phelps said as he prepares to head to Houston and California for another round of recruiting. "It's still early in our recruiting process. We've still got four months of recruiting to be done before this class is finished. I'm pleased in regards to where we are and where we want to be. If we sign 10 guys a month in the next four months we'll be right where we need to be."
Phelps reported that the Scots have signed 17 offensive and 17 defensive players as of Wednesday, with nine of those student-athletes already enrolled in classes. Nine of the players signed are transfers, with seven of those already taking classes this spring.
On the offensive side, the Scots have inked seven wide receivers, with five running backs, three offensive linemen and two quarterbacks signed on the dotted line. On the defensive side, nine defensive backs have committed to Lyon, along with six linebackers and two defensive linemen.
The 34 signed recruits represent nine different states, led by Arkansas (9), California (8), Florida (4) and Texas (3).
"We concentrated on improving our speed thus far in the recruiting class," Phelps explained. "The mid-year guys that are already here brought in some pretty good speed. You always want to boost your offensive and defensive lines when you recruit, to you're your team more depth in those areas. And we wanted more speed in our defensive backfield, as well."
Lyon will look to replace two key offensive players, in running back Michael Bowles (SR/Earle, Ark.) and quarterback Dwane Robinson (SO/Palm Bay, Fla.). Bowles rushed for a school-record 1,457 yards in 2016. He also holds the program all-time record in rushing in only two years, amassing 2,888 yards and 18 touchdowns.
"We have some kids already on our roster who I think can step up in the absence of Michael," Phelps said. "We have a great one in Joe (Mahe), who ran the ball a lot for us last year and I think he's only going to run the ball more in the future.
"We also have Fabian (Buenrostro – RS Sr. from Tulare, Calif.) (pictured above, right), who missed all of 2016 after breaking his leg the season before and wasn't ready to come back in 2016. He'll get some touches, as well. And we brought in a couple of mid-year enrollees – Jared Puamau (5-10, 190 lb. transfer from University of Utah) and Josh Abel (5-8, 175 lb. transfer from Arizona Western College). They'll have opportunities to run the ball, as well, in our slot back position."
Mahe (6-0, 199-lb. Jr. from Makawao, Hawaii) (pictured above, left) averaged 7.0-yards per carry last season as a junior, finishing the year with 293 yards on only 42 carries. He also blocked for Bowles.
Robinson's absence and the departure of backup quarterback Micah Wall (SO/Hooks, Texas) opens the quarterback battle up. In addition to third-year player Cody Jones (SO/Russellville, Ark.) (5-10, 225-lb. RS-So. From Russellville, Ark.) and midyear transfer George Barajas (6-0, 195-lb. transfer from Feather River JC) will be battling for the starting job during spring training.
"We are fortunate to have George in at semester and he'll have the opportunity to compete the starting quarterback spot this spring," Phelps noted. "We still have Cody Jones on the roster, and there will be a favorite coming out of spring ball between those two.
"We also have a couple quarterbacks on our radar in the spring, and if either of those guys ends up coming in for camp in the fall they will have the opportunity to win the job."
Phelps said having the nine players coming in for spring workouts is huge.
"Any time you get kids here and get them into your culture and program and they are working out it's an awesome plus for the program. We've never had this many players come in for the spring semester and that's a testament to my staff and all the people that worked so hard to get them here."
Phelps said his staff will continue to recruit hard and push for more signings as the team works through the spring. The Scot players will go through off-season workouts and practice 15 days over a four-week period in April heading up to the Blue-White Spring Game that will take place on Saturday, April 29, at Pioneer Stadium.
BREAKDOWN OF RECRUITS
Wide Receivers – 7
Running Backs – 5
Offensive Linemen – 3
Quarterbacks – 2
Defensive Backs – 9
Linebackers – 6
Defensive Line – 2
Arkansas – 14
California – 8
Florida – 4
Texas – 3
Ohio – 1
Alabama – 1
Pennsylvania – 1
New Mexico – 1
Mississippi – 1