Joe Pyle is the definition of perseverance.
When Brian Polian was at the helm of Nevada’s football program, his coaching staff invited Pyle as a preferred walk-on, which meant he didn’t need to try out. He was on the Wolf Pack roster. After two-plus seasons serving on the scout team and switching from quarterback to wide receiver when Jay Norvell was hired, Pyle needed a change in scenery.
“Coach Norvell wanted me to play receiver,” Pyle said. “It didn’t really work out. I gave it my best shot.”
A friend convinced the 2015 Fallon grad to give junior college ball a shot and Pyle moved to the California coast last year to play for Golden West College in Huntington Beach. Everything lined up for Pyle. There was even a spare room available in his friend’s apartment.
“It was a great experience,” Pyle said. “One of my friends in my first semester at Nevada went to a JUCO (junior college). When I told him I was leaving, he told me to come with him. It was fun experience getting back on field. It was a good coaching staff and in a great location. I got a lot of looks.”
Playing on the field for the first time since he led the Greenwave to the state playoffs, Pyle was nothing short of brilliant. As a result, Pyle signed with Southeast Missouri State (Cape Girardeau), a Division I FCS school in the Ohio Valley Conference, and will be competing for the starting position this spring.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “He was a kid who loved the work. He loved to get the guys out, throw and work in the weight room. He’s highly, highly intelligent. He has a great football mind.”
Pyle played in nine games completing 174 of 265 passes (65.7 percent) for 2,216 yards (246.2 yard/game average) and 17 touchdowns against five interceptions. He finished with a 153.3 efficiency rating. Pyle was second on the team in rushing with 358 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries.
“It was a lot of fun getting back on the field,” Pyle said. “It was a quarterback competition going in. I got confident and was pretty much back to 100 percent. I had no problems throwing the ball. I feel good about this upcoming season.”
Pyle, who received interest from Texas Southern, Sioux Falls and Dixie State, will have to compete once again for the starting job in Missouri. But his experience on Nevada’s scout team and being a dual threat in California has put the ex-Greenwave quarterback in good position.
“The experience at Nevada really helped me. I really love football,” Pyle said. “Having a scholarship takes pressure off me and my family. Football has given lots of great experiences.”
Nothing seems to stand in Pyle’s way as he’s overcome all obstacles thrown at him. Pyle, though, admitted that if he had to do it all over again, he would have invested more time in going the junior college route out of high school.
“I didn’t know too much about JUCO until I got to Nevada,” he said. “I wish I would have known that in high school. I’m happy with how everything turned out. I wish one of things I told myself back then was to look at all your options. It’s not a bad route.”
But when spring camp begins, Pyle will have two years of eligibility and another opportunity to make it at the Division I level. Pyle credits his parents for pushing him and his coaches and friends in Fallon for having faith in him and providing support through his journey.
“The experiences have been so goods. Now that I’ve got this far, I don’t want to stop now,” Pyle said.