(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- For the last several seasons, the Lindenwood University football team has signed some of the top talent in Southeast Missouri. On Wednesday, they inked another in Sikeston's Josh Carlyle.
Carlyle, a 6-2, 270 pound senior, anchored the offensive and defensive lines for Sikeston, helping the Bulldogs to a 13-1 season and a trip to the state semifinals. He was named to the SEMO All-Conference and All-Region team as an offensive lineman as he helped Sikeston running backs set a school record in rushing yards with 3,956, which included two 1,000 yard rushers.
He was also named to the SEMO All-Conference team as a defensive lineman, collecting 54 tackles on the season.
"We are proud of him and proud of the work he's done," said Sikeston coach Kent Gibbs. "He came in as a senior and played both ways for us and kept his grades up where he could do what he wanted to do. Obviously it is a good day for us, good day for football and we hope this is only just the beginning and we'll get a few more down the road."
Carlyle said Lindenwood was the first team to show interest and it only helped that the team had a great deal of success last season. Lindenwood finished the 2009 season with a 13-1 record and advanced to the NAIA National Championship game for the first time in school history, losing to Sioux Falls 25-22.
"They were the one's that bit first," Carlyle said. "They offered me first and have great facilities, great weight rooms, great team spirit. They were 13-1 and competed for a national championship. They're just a great team."
Carlyle said he has been told he will probably play on the offensive line.
"I'll play wherever they want me," Carlyle said. "They said they want me for offense but they said I could possibly play defense so I will play wherever I fit in."
If he is on the offensive side, he will be a part of a very potent offense. The Lions were the highest scoring NAIA offense in the nation averaging 199.7 rushing yards and 292.7 passing yards a game, and allowed only 1.3 sacks a game.
"It's one of those things a guy just needs to go up and compete, work hard for a couple years and see how it bounces," Gibbs said. "If they get some injuries, he might get in right away. If not, he might have to put a couple years in. I think wherever he excels the most he will end up on that side of the ball."
Carlyle said regardless of whether he plays offense or defense, he still needs to improve.
"I need to improve my speed and I just want to get a little bit bigger for whatever side of the ball they want me for," Carlyle said. "I just want to be able to control whatever side of the ball I'm on and dominate."
Carlyle is the son of Steve and Tammy Carlyle.