By Joseph Beyda
Senior corner Wayne Lyons announced on Thursday that he will spend a fifth year at Stanford.
I have decided to stay in school and take advantage of an opportunity to get better in my fifth year of eligibility! !
— Wayne Lyons (@wlyons21) January 15, 2015
Lyons played in each of the Cardinal’s 41 games from 2012-14 and split starting time with classmate Ronnie Harris last season. He finished 2014 with 30 tackles, 3 pass breakups and a forced fumble.
The architectural design major’s return is much-needed news for a Stanford secondary that already lost both of its starting safeties — fifth-year senior Kyle Olugbode and senior Jordan Richards — to graduation and its top corner — junior Alex Carter — to the NFL Draft this offseason. Lyons will be counted on to form the core of the 2015 defensive back unit, which will also return Harris, junior safety/nickelback Zach Hoffpauir and freshman corner Terrence Alexander.
Lyons was projected by some outlets as a late-round draft pick, but he has yet to make a huge splash nationally after coming to Stanford as the seventh-best corner recruit in the country.
After playing in his first two games as a true freshman, Lyons broke his foot and was forced to redshirt. Upon Lyons’ return in 2012, head coach David Shaw claimed that he had the potential to become one of the top defensive backs in the country.
Lyons started every game at corner in 2013, compiling 69 tackles and making a pair of key interceptions in a late-season win against Notre Dame. Upon the arrival of famed defensive backs coach Duane Akina last offseason, Lyons began improving in press coverage in particular, according to his position coach.