The state's top 10 prospects: No. 3 Kyler Kerbyson, Catholic

Tennessee, Alabama, Duke, Florida in lead

Kyler Kerbyson is willing to make an unpopular decision if need be.

The offensive lineman from Catholic High School is preparing friends and family for the possibility that he might not play football at Tennessee.

"Some of them don't take kindly to it," the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder joked. "They're a little skeptical. (They say) 'I've been cheering for Tennessee against Alabama for 20 years. I don't know if I can cheer for (the Crimson Tide).'

"Well, you might have to get used to it. I don't know."

Kerbyson insists he truly doesn't know where he'll play college football, but the News Sentinel's third-best prospect in the state said Tennessee, Alabama, Duke and Florida lead for his services.

The Vols slid a bit this spring, but have made up ground on their competition.

"They were a little down for about a month," Kerbyson said. "They've definitely caught up. I've been getting some phone calls and I've been calling them more."

The calls from all schools, however, have been less frequent than they were this spring when it seemed Kerbyson was picking up a scholarship offer every week.

"They've definitely slowed down, which I really like," Kerbyson said. "I don't like to be all stressed out with all that kind of stuff."

Kerbyson isn't complaining. He's happy to have a chance to play college football, but the constant salesmanship from college recruiters was getting a little stale.

"I've got people calling me on my phone every day, talking to me every day saying 'You need to make the right decision, Kyler. This is your life.' " he said.

It once was a common notion that Kerbyson would make an early decision, perhaps during his spring semester. Now, as summer leads to fall, Kerbyson said he'd like to announce his intentions soon, but isn't married to any timetable.

"I really just wanted to make a decision before my senior season," he said. "That was just because I don't want to be thinking about it while I'm playing, but if I'm not ready and I don't think I know, then I won't."

It would be good for Catholic if Kerbyson had a clear mind. The team is one of the area's favorites to win a state title.

"I think I can say for all of our players, we all want a state title and nothing less," he said.

Until then, Kerbyson is spending time working out this summer - when he's not fielding overtures from college recruiters. His bench press is up to 360 pounds. His squat is up to 520 and his power clean is 300.

The hard work has Kerbyson looking the part of a premier offensive lineman. His sleek frame belies his 300-plus pound weight.

"I've always been really conscience about having a big ole' gut on me," Kerbyson said with a chuckle. "And I get (motivation) from my family a lot. My stepdad tells me I'm getting fatter."

College coaches don't seem to mind.

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Comments » 29

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Thank you for that comment Kyler! Now queque the bammers that will say he is no good if not Tuscalooser-bound.

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

Hey Kyler Kerbyson your from Knoxville and if you havent noticed we are in dire need of offensive linemen! I dont understand you even considering playing for another school, especially with our current OL situation. The decision is a no-brainer, wouldnt it be nicer beating alabama than playing for them? Go Vols!!!

AtLeastMyTeamHasPerfectSeasons writes:

Hey KingP, kids these days who are that young are living in the MTV generation that are loyal only to themselves. Most would want to leave town/state to have a different experience and learn life lessons. Let's not throw down on a kid who goes elsewhere even though it sucks.

But I agree with you 100%, but we don't think like todays youth.

bigtangerine writes:

I think he's going elsewhere. I would, too, I guess. He'll contend for championships at Alabama and Florida. He'll be hoping for a bowl-eligible record for the first couple of years here.
Face it, the Big Orange hasn't experienced the BCS since 1999.

VolfanKY writes:

In my view there would be a lot of incentive for him to play for the Big Orange. There's room for early playing time on the O line, and there's talent at most positions, the problem is inexperience. Programs like Tennessee are down but never out, and our new players are getting top notch experience. That said, UT is still an appealing choice for elite talent. GBO

RoadTrip writes:

Stay with the Big Orange, Kyle. Your heart is on Rocky Top. Something big is underway here and we need you to play a big part in it.

Try "conscious" instead of "conscience" in the last paragraph, Hook.

beachvol1 writes:

The choice is his to make, but it's like hunting on a baited field!!! Bama is definitely the team to beat but they also, had to get recruits such as his caliber to obtain that position, so, my question is, why not try to help UT get to that level, as you did say you cheered UT to beat Bama for yrs, but now, your not willing to help beat them again....I am missing something here, and being a Tn guy!!!

bUTchVFL writes:

If UT were in Nashville we would do so much better with instate recruits. Maybe not this kid but the other HS kids across the state. I think it hurts that Nashville and Memphis are closer to other SEC schools. JMO. GBO!

AllforTenn writes:

Are you conscious of your misuse of conscience?

CroKev writes:

This kid is, evidently, very intelligent and the fact that he's been offered by Duke attests to that. I can certainly understand the desire to go somewhere with an elite academic reputation like Duke or Stanford. However, you won't win any championships there (but those schools are definitely on the rise). Going to UF or Bama certainly puts you in the title hunt but who cares if your team won a championship while you sat on the sidelines the entire time (the NFL never drafts bench warmers, no matter how good they are). Bottom line is that the best students and best athletes get recruited by industry and the NFL, respectively, regardless of which Div. 1 school they attended. Kyler just look at the guys who've recently committed to UT and try to look at it from an outsider's viewpoint.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

I think he's going elsewhere. I would, too, I guess. He'll contend for championships at Alabama and Florida. He'll be hoping for a bowl-eligible record for the first couple of years here.
Face it, the Big Orange hasn't experienced the BCS since 1999.

You can't make it to the next level setting on the bench!!! A true athlete and competitor believes he can turn the Big Orange around and make it a championship team again.
Did you forget the 15 years of obscurity that Bammer just came out of?
They are Nick saying goodbye from being there again and his track record doesn't show a lot of roots anywhere!!!
PS: He will be a Vol, you can't be a Vol for 20 years and suddenly start wearing Crimson

dvhill100 writes:

Would love to see you stay with the Orange, but when it is all said and done, do what is best for you.

hueypilot writes:

What is the problem with our disconnect at Knox Catholic? We lost the big star to ND a few years ago. Don't get this at all. If I felt like Kerbyson did cheering for UT all those years, which I did, I'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse than go to Alabama. But maybe I'm just getting cranky.

voloffaith writes:

Telling them to get ready for something sounds like someone else has got hold of his ear real good that doesn't wear Orange & White. Clock on the wall says to get ready for sunday school and church. see ya'll later and well I wish him well with his life wherever he chooses.....prefer him in Ktown though.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Enjoy the ride, young man.

Nothing ever stay the same.

Good luck wherever you choose.

volsgirl writes:

You ether Vol or not it up to you ,but I know where come from.....Go Vols

volfanincarolina writes:

Have not seen any film on this guy but his offers speak for themselves. I agree that I believe he could play right away for BO. Been a Tenn. fan as a youngster and have the chance to play for them, I for the life of me cannot figure out why you would think about playing for Alabama or Fla. By reading alot of articles, I do believe Tenn. is on their way back and it will take 2-3 yrs I believe if not sooner. Come on over and wear the orange and help us to become a power house again.

richvol writes:

Being a Knoxville boy and having pulled for UT while growing up it's inconceivable that a great player like Kerbyson would not accept UT's offer. With coach Heistand's record of putting offensive linemen into the NFL and the chance to become a hometown legend should be too much to pass by.

I hope that Kyler follows his heart and instincts and becomes a volunteer...he was born to it. Saban is a really good coach but you are just another player at Alabama while at Tennessee you can become part of the class that brings Tennessee back to the top of the football world...and set yourself up to be successful for the rest of your life in your hometown.

beartn#223846 writes:

<<What ever happened to representing where you are from? So what, is he gonna go to Bama or Fla and hate Tennessee? Don't understand these kids. He can play for his home school, play EARLY. Or he can go to Bama or Fla and possibly not crack the depth chart.>>

I don't think it's that much picking a school for an athlete than it is for a regular student (except for the full ride). Some kids like to stay close to home, some like to experience something different. Only he can decide what's right for him. If he's that good, I hope he chooses the Vols, but I want have any ill will for him if he goes somewhere else.

Also, if he's the 3rd best prospect in a down year in Tennessee, there are many higher rated linemen out there. Antonio Richardson from Nasvhille is rated 6th best, while Kerbyson is rated 49th at tackle. I don't put too much stock in ratings, but I do wonder if Kerbyson has been tested playing for a smaller school. Don't get me wrong, if the coaches want him, I hope we get him.

10volunteers98 writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

I think he's going elsewhere. I would, too, I guess. He'll contend for championships at Alabama and Florida. He'll be hoping for a bowl-eligible record for the first couple of years here.
Face it, the Big Orange hasn't experienced the BCS since 1999.

Hey,let`s give Dooley a fair chance before we start with the doom and gloom!We need recruits like this kid to come to U.T.Then we`ll be 'Bowl -eligible'in a year or two!Lets face it.We had a coaching staff that smelled since 1999.They were stale.No energy to get the job done.I believe we`ve turned the corner now.I like Dooley,Chuck Smith,Justin Wilcox,and the rest of this staff.So,give them a chance and a little time.Rome wasn`t built in one day.GO,VOLS!!!

bigorangebolt writes:

Coach Dooley is soaring to the mountain top! Folks, we just landed one of the best quarterbacks in the country! We will get some big time players! We will win some over and loose a few, but the smart ones will be part of the great come back of the TN VOLS! It is great to be a TN Volunteer!

sjackson#227599 writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tate and Smith are poster boys for how reliable recruiting ratings are. While both were ranked fairly high coming out of high school, Smith was generally the higher ranked player. Tate turned into an extremely productive player who was drafted in this years NFL draft while Smith is still looking for a position on a poor defense. It is really a waste of time to stress out over where these 17 and 18 year old kids decide to go to school because the higher rated kids are generally no more likely to contribute than the lower rated kids.

mtowntim writes:

The way I read it his friends and family have cheered Tennessee on for twenty years. Unless he has cheered for the orange since birth and is a twenty year old high school student.

He may be young and naïve thinking bamma is his best chance for a championship. Usually, kids this age are very impressionable and don’t think things through very well. Sometimes they can’t focus on the long term benefits for being blinded by the short term instant gratification. I hope that’s not the case with this guy.

Just because bama are the champs today doesn’t mean they will be tomorrow. Things come in cycles and our turn is coming soon.

sjackson#227599 writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whatever the reasons, Tate has totally outperformed Smith and, quite frankly, I could play safety with Eric Berry and do OK. Your statement that Notre Dame has "TONS of talent" and "recruits well" means you have completely bought in to the recruiting ratings cool aid. What makes you think they have TONS of talent? My guess is that you are basing that on the four and five stars ND generally recruits. Net result of their TONS of talent is that they are a lousy team who is regularly beaten by teams with much less recruited talent. Navy and Air Force have beaten them in recent years and all their recruits are probably no stars based on the vaunted recruiting rankings. The four and five star ratings for these high school recruits are based on word of mouth and by viewing highlight tapes which can make anyone look good.

oskie_score writes:

Congratulations to Kyler, serious interest by Alabama, Florida, FSU, USC, et al happened almost overnight as last yr he wasn't even a blip on the aforementioned radar.

IMO, Kyler would be better off vying for an OL position w/ Tennessee. Enticements being playing for the Vols (childhood dream), early playing time and instruction (NFL preparation) under CHH.

That said, too it would be nice to keep in-state talent in state but if Kyler should choose elsewhere the Vols have (*3) Alan Posey's commitment in addition 4* O-Linemen Antonio Richardson, Zach Debell, Cyrus Kouandjio and 3* Donavon Clark, Sioasi Aiono and Xzavier Ward are very interested in Tennessee.

govols87 writes:

he's not very high on UF, USC, or UA's board. might not even have a committable offer from those schools if he waits too long. if UT's momentum continues to pick up steam as it has for the past several weeks, who knows how many spots UT will have left.

surely he wasn't upset because there wasn't a UT coach at his spring scrimmage, as was rumored? that would be awfully petty, especially considering the fact the coaches had already used their visit for that week.

sjackson#227599 writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I said "whatever the reasons" not "whatever the rankings". Let's get off the Smith versus Tate comparison and just say you are missing the basic point I am trying to make which is that these recruiting rankings do not mean much becasue they are based on totally reliable information such as word of mouth information, selective highlight tapes, high school coaches and personal trainers trying to inflate the value of their players/clients and the people who run these services trying to generate intersest in their product. In addition, these judgements are made without any way to compare the kids because they do not generally play against each other. But the most important thing to remember when you read sites such as Rivals and Scout is that they are judging 17 and 18 year old males getting ready to make the biggest adjustment of their life (ie, leaving home and going to college to play college football). You would really need to look hard to find a more unreliable test group.

givehim6 writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

I think he's going elsewhere. I would, too, I guess. He'll contend for championships at Alabama and Florida. He'll be hoping for a bowl-eligible record for the first couple of years here.
Face it, the Big Orange hasn't experienced the BCS since 1999.

Your mom need to wash your mouth with soap for saying such words. Obviously you have been brain washed by the event of the past 4 or 5 years @ UT. Narrow minded people that can only see the here and now some times have this problem, fact is UT is no longer happy with moral victories, we want real meat! UF no longer has T-bow to really them on to a win. Bama got there NC so will not be as hungry, see it alot team wins a NC then plays flat the next year or two. So young man come be a Vol not go out of state to a sooo yesterday team.

volboy81 writes:

I hope you stay here in Knoxville, Kyler. Nothing better than getting great young men from East Tennessee playing for the Vols!

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