As he closed in on the start of his senior season, Central offensive lineman Jahlil Ryles decided to take his recruitment out of the picture for the fall.
Ryles announced he had committed to MTSU via Twitter on Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Ryles was considered a two-star offensive lineman by Rivals and 247Sports and had offers from several other schools, including Connecticut, Troy and Georgia State.
Ryles visited Middle Tennessee State on July 16. Not long after, he and his family decided his best bet was to become a Blue Raider.
“Me and my parents just felt like that was the best place for me,” Ryles said. “They have an excellent program, and the atmosphere was just unbelievable. It just felt like home to me. (Wide receivers coach Austin) Silvoy came at me real hard and helped me realize what I can do for their program and help my future outside of football.”
Ryles complimented Murfreesboro and the MTSU campus, saying he fell in love with both. Ryles’ timing on making his decision was all about keeping the focus on Red Devils football for the upcoming months.
“This season is getting ready to start, and I wanted to put all of this behind me and focus on getting a ring this season,” Ryles said. “I’m happy I finally got this off my chest so I can work to get to state.”
No one probably appreciates Ryles’ focus on Central more than Red Devils head coach Jamey DuBose. DuBose explained Ryles will likely play as an offensive guard or center as a Blue Raider and said Ryles was likely intrigued by the potential to play quickly.
According to DuBose, Middle Tennessee has picked up a quality option for its future offensive lines.
“On the football field, he’s nasty,” DuBose said. “He’s a guy upfront who’s real strong and real powerful. He plays between the whistles really hard. He’s a finisher and a tough kid. He’s what you’re looking for as far as an offensive lineman goes. He’s got good size and he’s very athletic.”
DuBose added Ryles is nearly the polar opposite out of his pads and helmet. He said the values Ryles’ family instilled in him are apparent on a daily basis, and his work habit shows in his demeanor and his time in the classroom.
“He’s just an upstanding guy you’re going to get as a football player,” DuBose said. He’s got that switch you can flip once the game comes on. That’s the kind of guy you look for when you’re looking for a football player. He’s got all those intangibles.”
DuBose has advised his players to commit before the season if they’re ready or hold off until winter in order to limit distractions, and Ryles is the latest to follow those guidelines.
Ryles is now set to play collegiately at the FBS level, but before that, there’s plenty left to take care of.
“I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us (at Central),” Ryles said. “We have the best coaches you could ever have and the best players. We’ve got it all. We’ve just got to put everything to work. We’re making progress, and I’m loving it.
“I’m willing to put the team on my back and get us through whatever.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports