Stephenville High School graduating senior Blu Caylor, who was a second-team all-state linebacker the past two seasons for the Yellow Jackets, will be taking his substantial skills into the NCAA Division I ranks at Texas Tech University.

Caylor told the Empire-Tribune that he settled on the Big 12 Conference University in Lubbock — where he has yearned to go for quite some time. He said he will be considered as one of Tech’s “preferred walk-on” players, with the possibility of earning a scholarship at some point in the future.

Tech has an all-new football coaching staff because of the departure of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, now the head coach of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

Caylor said the coach he has been in contact with lately is Steve Farmer, an assistant under new Tech head coach Matt Wells. Farmer had been on the staff at Utah State University when Wells was head coach there.

“It (the preferred walk-on status) was offered by the last staff, and they re-offered it,” said Caylor, who stands 6-2 and weighs 225. “The main deal was, I had to get my ACT score up, and I did that (Thursday). The whole plan, since January, was to get my ACT up, or go to school at Ranger College (until he qualified for Tech).

“I always wanted to play at a big Division I school since I was a kid. I’m extremely happy. I’m blessed to have support from my family, friends and my coaches.”

Caylor gave a special thanks to his parents, Kyle and Susan Caylor.

A three-year starter at linebacker for the Yellow Jackets under former head coach Greg Winder, Caylor said he was also offered preferred walk-on status at Baylor, but he was a Red Raider at heart.

His older brother, Cole Caylor, went to Tech, and multiple relatives live in the Lubbock area.

“All of my family is from there, and my brother graduated from there,” Caylor said. “There is a special place in my heart with Texas Tech and Lubbock. My dad’s side of the family is from Plainview (just a little over 40 miles from Lubbock).”

Caylor said many of his relatives are alumni of Texas Tech, and some are cotton farmers in that part of the Panhandle.

“I just love Tech and Lubbock, and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else,” Caylor said.

His love for the game of football also has never wavered.

“Ever since I first picked a football up,” Caylor said. “I love football, and it’s my passion for sure. I love everything about it.”

After helping lead the Jackets to a 7-4 record and to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs, Caylor along with SHS defensive back Gage Graham were recognized as second-team all-state performers by both The Associated Press Sports Editors and the Texas Sports Writers Association.

Caylor and Graham were honored by vote of their SHS teammates as the team’s Defensive Co-Most Valuable Players.

Caylor was voted by vote of the coaches as the District 5-4A overall Player of the Year. As a junior in 2017, Caylor was the district Defensive MVP and helped the Yellow Jackets reach the semifinals of the Class 4A playoffs and finish with a 12-3 record.

Caylor led the Jackets in tackles as a senior with 152 in 11 games, including 91 solo stops and 9.5 quarterback sacks. His junior year, he posted 189 tackles and 10 sacks.

Caylor intends to focus on business studies in the classroom. On the football field, his goal is to work his way up the depth chart and become a starting linebacker for Tech as soon as possible.

He said that he would consider playing pro football someday, if that works out.

“I think anyone would love to go,” Caylor said, noting that first he’s going to focus on his grades in college so he can earn a degree.