Where Florida State goes after OL transfer Kayden Lyles suffers a season-ending injury

·3 min read

Florida State offensive lineman Kayden Lyles recently suffered an undisclosed season-ending injury, the team announced Wednesday.

Lyles, who transferred from the University of Wisconsin to FSU earlier this offseason, was expected to crack the two-deep depth chart at center. He even seemed to have an outside chance of beating out incumbent starter Maurice Smith.

"I know all too well that injuries are a part of playing football at the highest level," Lyles said in a statement. "Unfortunately, I will not be able to be on the field this season, but I came to Florida State to make an impact on this program, and that is still what I will do.

"We have a group of dedicated offensive linemen, and I am going to use the experiences I've gained through five years of playing college football to help them develop any way I can. Thank you everyone for the support.

"I'm going to approach every day with a mindset of improvement, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this team will do this season."

More FSU football: Analyzing Florida State's promising linebacker group, how Tatum Bethune has emerged as a leader

'This is identity week': Florida State has questions to answer in pivotal stretch of preseason

Azareye'h Thomas: Assessing Florida State's options at cornerback, Azareye'h Thomas' hot start to preseason

The Seminoles added an experienced offensive lineman in Lyles, who appeared in 34 games with 16 starts across four seasons with the Badgers. But injuries have plagued Lyles throughout his career. He underwent two hip surgeries in 2020 and suffered a season-ending right knee injury last season.

Still, Lyles has been at all of FSU's practices this week and plans to be an active member of the team.

“He loves this team," Seminole head coach Mike Norvell said. "We talk about when you bring in a transfer, what is it? It’s not just a jersey number. This guy comes in and embraces the team and embraces the culture. He brought things here from a leadership perspective.

"It’s unfortunate that it happened. When I got the news of what the injury was and they said that it would cost him this year, I went into the training room to see him. Obviously he was emotional.

"But even in that moment, he was thinking of the ways that he can still make an impact. That just speaks to the man. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to play this year. But he will make an impact on this team.”

Could Lyles return?

Norvell didn't rule out the possibility of Lyles receiving a medical redshirt or waiver to preserve his final year of eligibility.

Lyles started playing college football in 2017 but redshirted in his first season. He also received an extra season of eligibility because of COVID.

“We are going to explore all things," Norvell said. "There’s a, let’s say a possibility. But I don’t want to speak on any of that right now. But no matter what that next step is, it’s going to be a successful one.”

Where FSU goes from here

Lyles being out of the picture likely means Smith will be the starting center this season.

Who Smith's backups will be, though, remains to be seen. Norvell named a few offensive lineman who could receive work at center.

"Dillan Gibbons, he’s done that before if we ever need to get to that point," Norvell said. "Darius (Washington), (Maurice).

"Losing Kayden, it definitely takes a hit to the depth that we have there. But we’ve got a great plan for what we are going to be doing here moving forward.”

Redshirt sophomore Thomas Shrader is among other possibilities.

Reach Carter Karels at ckarels@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @CarterKarels. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

No one covers the ‘Noles like the Tallahassee Democrat. Subscribe using the link at the top of the page and never miss a moment.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU football: Kayden Lyles is out injured for the season. What's next?