Small town, big opportunity

Former SRU football receiver Kyle Sheets continues to chase dream

Published by Alex Hanczar, Date: February 21, 2024
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After one of the most dominant seasons a wide receiver could have, Kyle Sheets has set his sights on a journey to the National Football League (NFL).

The Springboro, Pa. native had an unforgettable senior campaign at Slippery Rock and he leaves behind a plethora of memories.

Upon his last dance, Sheets was named to the Division II All-American Second team. An honor he shared with teammates Josh Stokes and Yuriy Hryckowian, while four other teammates received honorable mention tributes.

A decorated season for the 6-foot-4 receiver has put him in a spot to chase his dream of an NFL job.

“Coach (Shawn) Lutz texted me and said the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders were going to come to practice and watch me, Cohen Russell, Colton Rossi and a couple of the other guys run,” said Sheets. “That was when my dad sat me down and told me they are not here for no reason, there is some interest there.”

This moment came last summer during the 2023 off-season. It was a moment Sheets will never forget.

Since then, the attention has only grown as he had the opportunity to meet with over ten NFL squads. These opportunities came throughout the season through scouts and most recently, at the College Gridiron Showcase.

The gap between the end of the 2023-24 season and NFL pro-day is long, but Sheets has not taken a day off.

“I have been with Terry Grossetti in New Castle, he has a draft prep program, and we have people from all levels there,” Sheets said. “He puts us through combine drills such as shuttle stuff, 40-yard dash stuff, and we will lift, and then we will have Zoom meetings which is one of the best parts I think.”

Grossetti is a Slippery Rock University alumnus himself and has been training athletes for the next level since 2010. In fact, Grossetti played wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Power, Pittsburgh’s indoor football team from 2010-2011.

Sheets understands just how close to the next level he is and he can finally taste his lifelong dream.

“Once everyone graduates college or declares we are, [we’re] all in the same spot now where they are looking at your pro days and your combines so, controlling what you can will help you mentally,” said Sheets. “Just knowing if you put everything into it, it’s either going to work out or it’s not.”

Beyond the star player he is on the field, it is the traits Sheets holds inside that elevate him above the rest.

The abilities he learned came from his hard work, talent and help from others. With that being said, Sheets was quick to give thanks and show his appreciation for all.

The wideout showed love to every player and coach from his freshman to senior campaign years. Sheets explained every person made an impact on him and molded him into a better man.

“I have taken something from everybody I met up there,” Sheets said. That’s not even just players and coaches, that’s parents and professors, everyone I met had a positive impact on me and I am super grateful to have those people around.”

It was clear in talking to Sheets that he was an excellent football player, but an even better person. The people he met in the small town of Slippery Rock had a strong influence on him.

“It’s goofy, people talk like, ‘Oh it’s Slippery Rock, you guys have one Sheetz and a Dunkin’ and wooden lockers, and all this other stuff,’” Sheets said. “I loved it and as soon as it was over, I was not ready to leave.”

Slippery Rock was more than a place for Sheets. The Springboro kid mentioned that when you leave, you realize how special it truly is. He advises all SRU students to not take a moment for granted.

Among the incredible things that Slippery Rock brought Sheets, an amazing friend sits at the top. Brayden Long and Sheets created an amazing bond, that no matter how far, will never be broken.

“Brayden and I have been friends for a while,” Sheets said. “We would go golfing, he’s good, I was not; but that competitiveness came out there and he is just a better kid than he is a football player, which is crazy to say.”

The Long-Sheets connection was instant and a spectacle. On the field, the two were electric and tore up the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) unlike anyone else. To Long and Sheets though, none of that shakes them. What they care about is the friendship they made, and with that, no wonder they were dynamic on the field.

As Sheets continues his journey to the next level he leaves behind many records on the field, excellent academics in the classroom, and more importantly smiles on the faces of every person whom he interacted with.

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