Photo by Bill Garman/ISD
Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Commit Lorenzo Styles Jr. Grateful for Family & Football

March 25, 2020

Lorenzo Styles Jr.‍ grew up surrounded by football even when he didn't realize it. 

His father, Lorenzo, played linebacker for the Buckeyes before playing for Atlanta and St. Louis in the NFL. 

It wasn't until middle school that Styles fully realized the accomplishments of his father. 

"I didn't really know how serious his football career was at first," stated Styles. "I was around 12 and we had our football ceremony. My dad brought out his Super Bowl ring out for all of us to see. 

"All the young kids were excited and I feel like that's when it hit me he really won a Super Bowl and won at the highest level. That's really when it sunk in for me." 

The four-star prospect never felt pressured to play football, but he quickly took to it as he loved the team aspect of the game.

"At first, it wasn't really the football itself," explained Styles. "It was about being in the sport. I've always been competitive and loved the team atmosphere. 

"Being able to make big plays for my guys as a young guy - I was just super fast and could run and score. When I was able to do that as a young kid, I started to love the game as I got older. That love for football just grew." 

Bill Garman/ISD
Lorenzo Styles Jr. 

Styles' father created a competition between Styles and his younger, Sonny, which has produced two of the top athletes in Ohio.

"Ever since we were little, my dad would always have us do competitive stuff," said Styles. "How many pushups could we do? How fast can you run? 

"Since we were probably six, he's been training us. That's around the time I started playing football too." 

Styles' father is also famous around the Pickerington community for his 5:30 a.m. workouts with his sons.

"My dad knows a lot about the game, so it's created a lot of friendships for me," Styles stated. "A lot of guys train with Sonny and me because they have seen our success in sports. He just really pushes us to the next level in our training." 

Those friendships turned into a brotherhood at Pickerington Central as the Tigers have won State Championships twice in the last three years. 

"It first started with the classes before me," stated Styles. "I had Xavier Henderson, Trent Gillison, Jeremiah Wood and a bunch of mentors to create a foundation for me. They created a path for me to follow. 

"Coach (Jay) Sharrett has helped me grow as a young man. We've been spending time together talking about stuff bigger than football and what it means to the community. It helps me put stuff in perspective and makes me realize football is so much bigger than me and how much it means to other people." 

Committing to Notre Dame wasn't a surprise to many who knew Styles and his family. 

Styles will be the first to admit sports isn't first in his life and that's a reflection of his mother.

"I have the best of both worlds with my parents," Styles explained. "My dad is great with the football aspect and my mom is really smart. She got a full-ride to Ohio State as well, but it was for academics. 

"She pushes me super hard on the academic side. I have my dad to push me hard on the football side, so it's a really good balance."

And the message from his parents has been effective and allowed Styles to see he's much more than a football player.

"She has taught me not to be consumed with sports and I'm more than an athlete," said Styles. "I also have the potential to do amazing things to do things outside of sports.

"Since a young age, they have said the NFL stands for 'Not For Long' and I really always knew whatever I did with sports wasn't going to be bigger than that. Sports are a benefit of going to college and the degree is the main part." 

Matt Freeman/ISD
Sonny Styles and Lorenzo Styles Jr. 

The brotherly rivalry is exactly how you would expect between two brothers two years apart with Division I offers for football. 

"We can go at it," Styles stated. "He's bigger than me now. He's two years younger than me and I've always pushed him in workouts. He has always tried to do more than he can to catch up with his big brother. 

"He's turned into a phenomenal athlete and he's done really well in basketball. It will be fun to see him over the next few years in football and basketball."

How competitive are the Styles brothers in sports? Well, they had to stop playing basketball in the backyard. 

"We had to stop," laughed Styles. "It was getting a little bit too serious. We still compete and every day, whether it's video games or who can eat more - just stupid stuff like that." 

Styles was a little hesitant to say his younger brother was a better athlete, but true to form, he gave props to Sonny. 

"I'll never let him - he's the better athlete," Styles said. "He's been training so much. Physically, he's more gifted than I am, so training with me and keeping up with me has allowed him to develop a skill set of a smaller guy. I feel he's going to be great at the level because of his size and athleticism." 

An older brother stating his younger brother is a better athlete is tough to admit.

However, Styles might be playing some mind games with his brother at the end of the day.

"He's going to get cocky about it," laughed Styles. "I'm going to keep pushing him." 

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