Lyerla is dominant on offense and defense, lining up at running back, wide receiver and linebacker. This season he has rushed for 1,519 yards and has scored 25 touchdowns. He also has 45 tackles and two sacks. Though he hasn't decided want position he wants to play in college, most schools project him as a linebacker.Read More Below
It's every child's dream scenario: trailing by a point with a few seconds remaining, a player dashes downfield to make an incredible, game-winning catch. Time expires. The crowd pours onto the turf in ecstatic disbelief.
Cliché as it sounds, that's exactly what happened to Hillsboro High's Colt Lyerla on Oct. 2, 2009. He streaked down the sideline to corral a 61-yard Hail Mary, lunging into the end zone to cap a 26-21 triumph over archrival Glencoe -- and an epic, four touchdown performance for Lyerla.
"It's hard to describe, but it was crazy," he says of the moment. "It was a great feeling."
Lyerla has a habit of making the improbable seem routine. He plays running back, wide receiver and linebacker. He runs a 4.55 40 and bench presses 320 pounds. He powered the Spartans (6-5 in 2008) to a 13-1 record and a state championship in 2009, earning Oregon 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors. His potential -- on both sides of the football -- is unmistakable.
It's also complicated the recruiting process. Though he's received more than 30 different offers (Oregon, USC, Cal, Oklahoma, Miami and UCLA are his top six) he hasn't specified which position he wants to play next year. Most analysts peg him as a linebacker because of his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame.
"I have to see how I'll fit in their system," he says. "It's just gonna depend on how far back I'd be on the depth chart."
His statistics reflect his versatility. Lyerla racked up 1,519 rushing yards, 352 receiving yards and 25 total touchdowns in his terrific senior season. He was a force on defense as well, with 45 tackles, two sacks and three turnovers. He's been the consummate athlete for 8-4 Hillsboro.
The key to his success is his training. His workouts consist of extensive plyometrics routines, using box jumps and sleds to enhance his explosiveness and flexibility. His program improves his release time from the backfield, slot, secondary or wherever he sets himself before the ball being snapped.
He's also demonstrated impressive mental perspective, using his experience in multiple roles to anticipate plays before they unfold. His cool demeanor serves as a model in crucial situations, and his locker room presence pushes teammates to perform at their best.
"If people are messing up, I try to let them know what they can do better," he says. "But if people are doing good, then I'm telling them that, too."
He'll bring that mindset to whichever college he chooses, where he'll likely be expected to contribute immediately. Based on his track record, he seems ready for the spotlight.
"I'm excited to see how I compete against everyone," he says, pausing for a moment. "I'll fight for the team around me."