June 23, 2011

Southfield's Lyles commits to MSU

Michigan State received its eighth verbal commitment for the 2012 recruiting class on Thursday afternoon when Southfield Lathrup linebacker Jamal Lyles gave a verbal pledge to the Spartans.

Lyles (6-3, 215) is listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, ranked the No. 44 outside linebacker in the country. He committed to Michigan State over scholarship offers from Iowa, Illinois, Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh.

"I made my final decision last night and decided to commit to Michigan State," Lyles said. "I was talking to my coaches and my family and I told them what all I liked about Michigan State. It was the best fit for me. There were a lot of great schools after me, and my coaches were excited when I made my decision."

Lyles called Mark Dantonio's office this afternoon to make the commitment. But Dantonio was on the phone doing an interview with Sports Illustrated.

"So I talked to coach Pat Narduzzi and my recruiting coach Brad Salem and then I got through to Coach Dantonio," Lyles said. "It was pretty exciting.

"Coach Narduzzi was very excited. He said I can help the defense with my athleticism. He said they need more guys like me and they're happy to have me.

"When I spoke to Coach Dantonio, he told me that he was very excited that I put my trust in Michigan State. He was excited and told me how excited he was."

Lyles showed during the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp earlier this month that he offers an explosive mixture of size, speed and quickness. His instincts and linebacking knack also show through on film.

Michigan State offered him after their coaching staff watched him at the SMSB Camp in Southfield.

"Coach Salem began speaking with me in January and told me he was pushing and really hoping that I would get that scholarship offer from Michigan State," Lyles said.

After Salem's recommendation, the decision to offer a scholarship had to go through Narduzzi and Dantonio. Narduzzi moved Lyles up to an A-list recruit after watching Lyles work up close in Southfield.

Lyles has already started working as a recruiter for Spartan football. He was able to speak with William Mahone, a running back recruit from Ohio who visited campus today.

"I told him to go green, come to Michigan State," Lyles said.

Lyles has been a heavy Spartan lean for several days. He noticed the commitment of Se'Von Pittman from earlier this week.

"He is a real big-time guy, a four-star recruit at defensive end," Lyles said. "He is going to help us out. We are building a great class right now, so I am very excited about when I go up to East Lansing."

Lyles said Southfield Lathrup coach Stephon Thompson helped him in his decision-making process.

"Coach Thompson is a big influence on my life," Lyles said. "I have been knowing him since I was in sixth grade. He told me once I got to high school that he was going to make a great athlete out of me, and he did. We have a very close relationship. So when I told him he was probably the most excited person. He was very happy for me.

"He asked me if I was sure, and to make sure to think about academics a lot. He said Michigan State has great academics and he said for himself personally that he is happy because he'll be able to come to my games."

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