Three-star LB Lyons chooses Rice

With several BCS-bound players surrounding him, three-star linebacker Alex Lyons (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) said he has been the butt of a recruiting joke or two every now and then. His teammates often wondered when he’d join the ranks of college commitments from DeSoto.

Over the weekend, the 6-foot, 210-pound inside backer became DeSoto’s sixth commitment, as he chose to play for Rice. Lyons joins teammates defensive end Michael Richardson (Texas A&M), cornerback Jalen Mills (LSU), running back Devin Rushing (Air Force) and offensive lineman Curtis Riser and cornerback Bryson Echols (Texas) in the DeSoto commitment fraternity.

Lyons picked Rice over offers from Iowa, California, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Kansas State. Verbal commitments are nonbinding, and the first day Lyons can sign is Feb. 1.

“I like the academics there and the chance to get a good education,” Lyons said about Rice. “Plus, I will get a chance to help start a new tradition of winning there.”

Lyons, recruited by defensive line coach Derrick Jackson, is expected to play middle linebacker for Rice. With 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash, Lyons also may see time as a rover in the Owls’ 4-2 defensive scheme.

Rice in previous years has built a standing for being a tremendous academic institution. Lyons turned down several established football programs to attend Rice, as it not only offered proximity (Rice is roughly 3½ hours from DeSoto) but also a quality education upon completion of curriculum.

It was that scholastic reputation that won over a standout linebacker who also is ranked No. 10 academically in his senior class. Lyons has a 4.71 grade-point average on DeSoto’s 5.0 scale.

“When you think of college, you’ve got to think of more than just football. There is life after football,” Lyons said. “If you’re good enough, you’ll get drafted [in the NFL] from anywhere. A lot of big names come from small schools.

“The average life in the NFL is three years. I want to make sure I have a good education when it’s over. I want to show I’m not one of those dumb jocks.”