Michael Goulding/Orange County Register
Tyler Lytle / Courtesy photo
Having made up his mind about where he wanted to play college football, Tyler Lytle could have picked up a phone and dialed Mike MacIntyre’s number.
Instead, Lytle and his parents flew to Boulder, and on Tuesday afternoon, they sat in front of the Colorado head coach and CU athletic director Rick George and told them he was planning to become a Buffalo after he graduates high school next year.
“I thought it was pretty cool and pretty special to be able to tell them in person,” said Lytle, a highly-recruited quarterback from Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif.
After telling MacIntyre and George, Lytle went into an office where the CU coaching staff was in a meeting and he told the group.
“They were all excited and I was excited,” Lytle said.
It’s a very exciting time not only for Lytle, but for Buff Nation, because there is recruiting momentum that hasn’t been seen around his program in nearly a decade.
Playing the game’s most important position, Lytle is a representative of the buzz building around a program that sorely needs it. It’s been 10 years since CU last produced a winning record and nine years since the last bowl appearance.
Despite the lack of success on the field, CU is clearly making an impression on a higher caliber of athlete than it has in recent years.
Lytle was the eighth player to commit to the Buffs for the class of 2017, and on Wednesday morning, No. 9 joined the list, as three-star cornerback Chris Miller, from Denton, Tex., announced his plans to come to CU. All eight of the high school players on the list (there is also a junior college commit) have at least a three-star rating from Rivals.com.
Lytle, who is 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, has gained a reputation for being one of the best quarterbacks in the class of 2017. ESPN.com gives him a four-star rating, while Rivals.com and Scout.com give him a three-star rating.
With more than two dozen scholarship offers, including a dozen from Power 5 conference programs, Lytle would arguably be the most high profile prep quarterback to sign with CU since Fairview’s Craig Ochs in 2000. Ochs was a consensus All-American and rated as one of the top QBs in the country.
CU is just 10-27 in three years under MacIntyre, but Lytle sees much better results on the horizon.
“I really felt at home there and I really feel like Colorado is on the brink of something great,” Lytle said. “I really want to be a part of it and lead the charge.”
Throughout the recruiting process, Lytle said he has developed great relationships with MacIntyre, co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Brian Lindgren and offensive line coach Klayton Adams.
Other quarterbacks around the country have been rated higher by recruiting services, and CU offered scholarships to many of them. Yet, the Buffs’ coaching staff has targeted Lytle as their top choice for a while. He felt the love and decided Boulder would be a great fit.
“I couldn’t be happier with my decision,” he said. “I’m happy with where I’m at and excited to get rolling.”
Of course, Lytle still has to play his senior year at Servite, and he can’t sign his letter of intent to officially become a Buff until February. Until then, he will work on getting better.
“Right now, I’m just really working on being the best leader I can for my team,” he said. “We’re going to be young this year, so I think it’s all the more important to get the young guys in the right mind set.”
Lytle is a pro-style quarterback, but has good mobility. He said he aims to improve on his ability to make plays with his feet, however.
By the time he gets to CU, Lytle’s body could be different, too.
“I’m not done growing,” he said. “Coaches are telling me I have the potential to be around 6-6, 230 once I get there and I’ll definitely put some weight on in college and just get stronger.”
The Buffs are getting stronger, too, and it’s because of players like Lytle, who was still enjoying his future home Wednesday afternoon before flying back to California.
“Just getting more comfortable and more familiar with it really reaffirms my decision and made me feel good about it,” he said.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.