Lyons ready to be next Woodland Hills star
As the Woodland Hills football legacy grows, to hear the legendary feats of past Wolverines stars makes it sound as if they walked on water.
Devon Lyons simply walks on his hands.
The 6-foot-4, 214-pound senior receiver/free safety set himself apart from other Division I prospects by showcasing his acrobatic athleticism on his highlight tape.
Following the advice of Woodland Hills coach George Novak, Lyons included clips of himself walking on his hands, doing front flips, dunking a basketball from a standstill and hopping over boxes in a single bound.
“Coach Novak said, ‘Definitely put that on there because it will get coaches’ attention,’ ” Lyons said. “That was half of it right there. The tape was probably 15 minutes long and that was five minutes of it. It helped me a lot.”
Despite starting only seven games last season, Lyons has received 24 scholarship offers. Lyons counts Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Miami and Pitt among his early favorites, but said he has no intention of making a college choice until after the season.
“This definitely took me off-guard, especially the first offer (by West Virginia in March),” Lyons said. “I didn’t expect to get any until some time in my senior season.”
That’s because Lyons split time with Chris Morgan at free safety last season. Lyons started in the regular-season finale at Penn Hills and stayed in the starting lineup for the remainder of the Wolverines’ run to the PIAA final.
If you haven’t heard of Lyons, it’s probably because he was overshadowed by Woodland Hills’ past two superstars, Michigan’s Steve Breaston and Ryan Mundy.
“I was definitely in the shadow of Ryan,” said Lyons, who played quarterback in a youth football backfield with Mundy and North Hills star Andrew Johnson. “Woodland Hills has a pipeline of players. You’ve got to wait your turn. Most people don’t start until their senior season.
“Now, it’s my turn.”
After shining at the Nike Training Camp at Penn State and Pitt’s 7-on-7 passing camp this summer, Lyons has emerged as one of the nation’s rising receiver prospects.
“If I can keep it up,” Lyons said, “I should have a great season.”
Lyons estimates he had only six receptions last fall, but knows he has all the tools to become a big-time receiver. Not only does he possess size and soft hands, but also 4.45 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical jump to combine with his agility and body control.
“He’s done a tremendous job as a wide receiver,” Novak said. “He’s a big target. He’s got excellent hands and great moves.”
And Lyons is powerful, as well. He’s capable of bench-pressing 315 pounds and squatting 330. And he has a 3.5 grade-point average and scored 1,030 on the SAT.
Novak is not one to gush about his players, but he believes Lyons has a bright future — no matter where he plays.
“He’s such a big athlete with growth potential,” Novak said. “He could play either side of the ball. That’s the nice thing about Devon. It’s not a big concern. He’s just a great kid. He’s a clean-cut All-American kid.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review sports columnist. You can contact Kevin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .