Lyle Silva Jr. gets to Nevada whenever he can because of the gamble he doesn’t want to take – on his future.
He’s working hard to try and reveal his raw potential and prove himself so college football coaches will take notice.
Lack of attention from recruiters was already a concern before the pandemic, and the loss of his junior season at Hilo High only served to exacerbate his worries.
“We missed it a lot, football is pretty much our life,” Silva said. “It’s our key out of here, to be something in the future. We missed it a lot, so we just tried to do what we could when we went up to Vegas.”
In mid-May at the Polynesian Bowl Combine and Showcase, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Silva was named one of the top-five performers in the running back position for his work in four drills: the 40-yard-dash, short shuttle run, broad jump and medicine ball toss.
The feedback he got from college coaches could be construed as both positive and disheartening.
“I talked to multiple coaches,” he said. “They told me I’ve got the talent, it’s just from where I’m playing on the Big Island, there is not as much exposure as they would like.
“Some even offered to house me if I went up there.”
A move to the mainland to face better competition might not be in the offing, so all Silva can do is hunker down and continue to grind away in Hilo ahead of his senior season.
Prior to the showcase, Silva made a trip to the mainland for a Pylon 7-on-7 tournament.
When pandemic shut everything down in March of 2020, Silva and his father were resourceful, building a squat rack at their house to use until things began to gradually open up.
“Since Pop Warner we’ve been training and training so I could be something great one day,” he said.
Silva started as a freshman for Hilo at linebacker, and as a sophomore he provided a much-needed boost at running back, rushing for seven touchdowns as the Vikings reclaimed the HHSAA Division I title.
Under newly named head coach Chris Todd, the Vikings are already ramping up activities in anticipation of the return of BIIF football this summer
Silva, along with Tysen Kaniaupio, Ricky Mamone and Koa Akui, figure to be the team leaders, Todd said.
“We’ve set a big standard, but I thing we can match that,” Silva said. “I know there are some hungry boys out there and it’s going to be in our hands to get other people to come out.
“I’m pretty confident that we can get some boys out.”