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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Karé Lyles, QB, Southern Illinois

Karé Lyles
Karé Lyles the gunslinging quarterback from Southern Illinois University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Karé Lyles
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 220 lbs
  • Position: QB
  • College: Southern Illinois University
  • Twitter: @kare_lyles4

What is your major/minor? During your collegiate experience, have you participated in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

I am currently in Grad school pursuing a Professional Media & Media Management degree. I have never been a part of other campus organizations, but I have participated in various events throughout my college experience. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I carry the role of being a Quarterback in every aspect of my life. The position sets the standard for the rest of the team and the daily approach must match what you do off the field as well. I have always pursued being the hardest worker on the team. When you have that mindset it gives you another reason to wake up in the morning and set the tone for your daily routines. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

During my time at Wisconsin I learned how to prepare each game week with film study and personnel breakdowns. Although I never started at UW, I went into each week preparing as if I was the starter. The best player I have ever prepared against was Malik Hooker when he was at Ohio State. You can tell he had a high IQ as well as having unbelievable game speed and ball skills. 

Throughout your career, which one of your teammates has impressed you the most?

My football career has given me so many teammates that set the bar high. I take so many things from each of my teammates that have gone on and now perform at the highest level in the NFL. Guys that immediately come to mind are TJ Watt, Byron Murphy, Chris Orr, Zack Baun, Jeremy Chinn, DJ Davis, Christian Kirk, and my brother Kayden Lyles. Personally I have to go with two guys and that is my brother Kayden and my high school teammate Christian Kirk. Both of their approach to the details are extremely rare. With both of them, they have had the same approach since they were in high school. Both of them put the majority of their focus and time into the fundamentals of the game, the little details that set them apart, and both have unbelievable practice habits. Christian has been a pro since I was first around him when he was a sophomore in high school. He took me under his wing, and I have seen firsthand why he has all the success he has had throughout his career. Kayden has the best practice habits and discipline I have ever been around. An example that I’ve always enjoyed describing Kayden is if we have a 7 am practice, he sets his alarm for 4:45 am and gets to the facility around 5:15 every time we have workouts, meetings, or practice and he’s been doing that same routine since freshman year of high school. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

The last couple months of being in Junior College after transferring from Wisconsin. I thought I was set to go to the University of Arkansas. I got a call from them saying that they wanted to pursue another route a month prior to the start of the spring semester. The whole month of December that year I had no idea where I was going for my last two years of college. I got a call one day from Nick Hill and Blake Rolan from SIU. Within those two conversations I remember being on the phone for about 3 hours that day with both of them. I finally committed in January and couldn’t be more thankful that I chose such a great University. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

Without a doubt basketball. I love the game of basketball and when it’s played at a higher level it is truly poetic. I look back on the greatest NBA teams and watch their games and it’s just unbelievable to watch. I love playing too. Before my first basketball practice when I was young, my dad put on Dennis Rodman highlights for me to watch. He told me, “I can’t teach you how to be like MJ, LeBron, or Kobe, but I can teach you how to play like Rodman”. Every season I led my team in rebounds, blocks, and steals and my highest scoring game ever was 12 points, but my highest rebounding game was 33. 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Just being in the opportunity that I am in now. The opportunity to go out this year and do everything it takes to have a championship level season. I am not talked about a lot in the media, in a small college town, and in a program that hasn’t had a lot of success the past decade. Knowing the work that I’ve put in and the confidence and goals I have set out to accomplish I have an exciting idea of where I’ll be at come a year from now. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

The first play of Arkansas State is a fun one to reminisce about. My receiver Avante Cox was lined up at the wide side of the field, and we had a stutter and go shot play called to open the game with. The play was designed for me to roll out to my left and throw it without setting up, something most defensive coordinators don’t typically plan on needing to stop. If you look at that play, I launch it around 67 yards to Avante right in stride to start off the series. That whole game is filled with memorable plays and I am excited to show more of that this year. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

Russell Wilson is someone who I’ve always admired watching, and it’s not just what he does on the field either. His intangibles are what makes him so unique. Watching interviews, interactions with people, his presence, and reading how he prepares during the off season and in practice are things that I have the ability to take from him, not necessarily the highlight plays and his performance on the field since those things are heavily unique to him personally. 

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

My favorite artist is Prince. His style can never be matched again. A lot of different genres of music get me ready for game day, I am currently making a playlist for when the time comes to go out for our first fall practice. 

What is your favorite comfort food?

BBQ Ribs since I usually am responsible for making them for dinner for when I go back to Madison, WI when I visit my family. The whole full day process of making them is what I enjoy. I have tried many different techniques so I can finally make up my own personal recipe. 

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?

Willem Dafoe. Watch his performances in Mississippi Burning, The Lighthouse, and Last Temptation of Christ. His variety is what makes him so unique. The Green Mile and Love Jones are my favorite movies. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?

I enjoy watching movies, hiking, swimming, cooking, playing cards, and pretty much anything competitive. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

The high you get when you prepare for something and you achieve what you set out to do. I credit my ambitions and work ethic to my baby sister Annexis who passed away when she was only three days old. I always look up to the sky and wink at her whenever I am doing something that is physically or mentally demanding, it makes me push through whatever it is I’m doing. 

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