Kyle Louis made a visit to Pittsburgh during the second weekend of December, just a few days before signing his National Letter of Intent and a week after helping East Orange High School cap an undefeated season with a New Jersey North 1 Group V state championship.
And three weeks later, Louis underwent surgery to repair a torn tricep that occurred during East Orange’s fifth game of the season. The 2022 three-star Pitt linebacker commit played through a season of pain to reach a goal.
“I feel like that was just God’s way of challenging me,” Louis told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I feel like it’s given me a new perspective on how I should take care of my body, how I should treat things and how I should watch myself — protect myself on the field.”
In the weeks and months since surgery, wearing a cast for a week following the surgery itself, Louis has stuck with a rigorous schedule to rehab from the surgery while competing in track & field. Louis has track practice in the morning, an hour therapy session afterward and concludes with an explosive weight room workout. And he feels like he’s in the best shape of his life.
— Kyle Louis (@kylelouis09) June 15, 2022
While half of Pitt’s 2022 recruiting class enrolled at Pitt in the winter, Louis remained in New Jersey to rehab but to also continue — and complete — his track & field career. After a New Jersey state championship track appearance, which didn’t go exactly to plan due to Prom the night before, Louis has one more chance at the national track & field championships this weekend.
With an original official arrival date of June 19, Louis had one more task to attend to before arriving at Pitt, and the coaching staff fully supported a June 24 arrival instead.
With events in the 4×100 meter dash, 4×200 meter dash, 4×400 meter dash and the Swedish medley, Louis and his East Orange teammates will compete one last time this season. And for Louis, it could be the very last track meet of his life, but even if he doesn’t run track at Pitt, he couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity ahead of him at Pitt.
“I’m very excited,” Louis said. “Coach Salem is always asking me about my weight, about how my arm is doing and telling me he can’t wait until I get down there and get my weight up.
“I feel like the closer I get, the faster it’s happening. Like back in January, coming off the official visit, I felt like time was moving crazy slow. But now everything is heating up.”
Louis feels like he should focus on football once he arrives at Pitt, but if the opportunity arises to run for the track & field team, he would consider it. He’s loved how competing as a track & field athlete has raised his ability as an athlete tenfold, but Louis is ready for the chance to excel totally on the football field.
As of right now, Louis is 203 pounds, but he hopes to be able to play at 215 pounds as a freshman at Pitt. And with the opportunity to grow at Pitt, he’s also very much looking forward to finally being able to compete against players who he feels like will push him to the next level and beyond.
“The competition,” Louis said. “Seeing how it is at that level. … I’ve mainly been speaking to Brandon (George). I’ve been talking to SirVocea (Dennis) a lot, I watched film. I remember the last unofficial visit I went to, they had a scrimmage, so coach told me to watch him the whole time. I got an idea of how to play the position, and I can’t wait to take that role and see where it takes me.
“I feel like I was perfectly prepared to play in something such as Pitt’s defense. Pitt’s defense is a zone defense that fluctuates off the offense so I feel like I’m going to be very prepared.”
As a senior at East Orange, while playing through injury for more than half of the season, Louis truly stuffed the stat sheet. Offensively, Louis rushed for 276 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries (over 30 yards per carry) and added 99 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions.
Defensively, Louis racked up 118 tackles (87 solo), 32 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, four passes defended and two forced fumbles. And as a returner, Louis returned three kickoffs for 117 yards and eight punts for 391 yards and two touchdowns.
With Pitt’s linebacking corps going through some turnover ahead of the 2022 season, Louis is excited for the potential opportunity to work himself into the rotation. It’s been a dream that he’s told everyone who will listen, and he’ll try his hardest to find a way to the field. But he’s also focused on getting his education started and just getting faster and stronger as a freshman.
“My long-term goal is to graduate from the school,” Louis said. “My long-term goal is to be what Aaron Donald’s doing right now, always coming back to the school like it’s his home. I know now in college, a lot of people treat their schools like it’s just business, but I truly believe in the brotherhood that football brings, so I’d love to do something like Aaron Donald’s doing.”