Kyle Castilleja | Southwestern U/ The Spring League | WR
Twitter: @kylecastilleja1 | Instagram: @kylecastilleja7
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like.?
A: College Career (2014-2017): I began my college career at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX. I was recruited to play Defensive Back. On the opening kick-off of the first game of the season, I happened to get a spiral fracture on my right pinky that sidelined me until the last two game of the season. I returned to contribute on special teams. During Spring Ball, I made the switch to Wide Receiver.
Also, while at Southwestern University, I ran track and field competing in the 100M, 4x100M, and Long Jump. In the Fall of 2015, I made the decision to transfer school’s due to the massive student loan debt that I was accumulating.
I transferred to Blinn College in the Spring of 2016. I remained there for one semester before transferring to Texas A&M University in the Fall of 2016. After a failed attempt at walking on to the football team, I joined the Powerlifting Team and in the Spring of 2017 I would compete at the Collegiate National Championship. This would be the conclusion of my collegiate sports career.
Professional Career (2018-Present): In 2018, I was no longer eligible to try for a walk-on spot at Texas A&M with only 1 year of eligibility remaining. I decided to forgo my remaining year and attended a try-out for the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football League. I was invited to Training Camp in February of 2018. I would remain with the Revolution for just a matter of weeks before making a pivotal decision to leave to raise my newborn daughter.
In November of 2018 I attended The Spring League – Miami as a Defensive Back. After the showcase, I would be invited to the American Patriot League Showcase in Houston, TX. I was placed in their draft pool but the league folded before the conclusion of the draft.
2019 was a very important year for me. I would cross paths with Terrance Toliver, former Hamilton Tiger-Cats WR. Toliver was a very big influence in my decision to transition from Defensive Back to Wide Receiver. I would spend the year training to transform myself into an elite route runner.
2020 was the year I was able to put my new learned talents on display at The Spring League 2020 – Las Vegas. At the conclusion of the showcase I would earn Coaches Choice Award at the Wide Receiver position. I would learn under the tutelage of Terry Shea and Sami Parker.
Shortly after, COVID-19 sent the nation into a frenzy and pretty much ended my 2020 campaign. I remained vigilant in my training and perfection of my craft.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: The biggest accomplishment thus far in my career would be my journey through The Spring League 2020 – Las Vegas. I must note this accomplishment is not any award, statistic, etc. but rather a test of my heart and willpower.
This journey truly began about 1 week prior to my departure for Vegas. 5 days before my departure, I would tweak my hamstring during training. Despite my immediate action to alleviate pain and efforts to heal myself in time for competition, I would re-aggravate my hamstring during the first practice in Vegas. This ended day 1 for me. I iced, stretched, performed strengthening exercises, and bought a sleeve, bio-freeze, anything you could think of to help my hamstring.
Day 2 would prove to be better as my hamstring was manageable. Day 3 would find me even more success and by the end of the week I would prove myself and earn my starting position. Saturday was game day and I played the full game, special teams included, with a strained hamstring.
This is by far, in my eyes, my biggest accomplishment. My heart was really put to the test. I could have quit on Day 1. If this isn’t a testament to my dedication and willpower then I’m not sure what is.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing at The Spring League?
A: Learning under the coaching staff at The Spring League 2020 – Vegas was invaluable in my development as an athlete. Apart from the X’s and O’s of running an NFL offense, along with all the terminology and technique at the wide receiver position; I learned HOW to be a professional athlete. How to break down film, what to expect throughout a professional level training camp, how to uphold myself to the standards of the NFL, or any professional league for that matter.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: My 2020 campaign was cut short after The Spring League in March. Aside from the opportunities to display my talents my 2020 wasn’t much different from 2019. I was still training and perfecting my skills. I am a school teacher, so we were shut down for most of the year which meant I had much time to focus on training. I will always look at 2020 as a blessing in disguise. I was able to focus on training, heal my body back to 100%, and spend crazy amounts of time with my family. This isn’t to take away from the severity of the pandemic but I am a naturally optimistic person and believe there is good that arises from every bad.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: I graduated Texas A&M University in the summer of 2019 with a major in University Studies – Leadership and 2 minors. One in Coaching and one in Sports Management. I have had internships at Sam Houston State University’s Strength and Conditioning program, I have been a performance coach at D1 Sports Training, I served as Strength and Conditioning Coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Bryan, TX for 3 years and currently serving as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and Head Powerlifting Coach at Hearne High School in Hearne, TX.
I say all this to state that when football is over I plan on brick and mortaring my business Five Star Performance & Fitness, LLC. and solidifying myself as an elite performance facility in Texas.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: I am a naturally gifted athlete. I have natural instinct and very explosive and quick. I put the team before myself. I am selfless and always want what is best for the entirety of the team. Very committed to bettering myself. I have been told before by my teammates that “you are the best athlete on the team, we just have to get you in a position to do what you do.” This was from a teammate at Southwestern University.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: My most memorable play would come during my Junior year of High School. I played QB at Hearne High School and we were playing Buffalo High School. After I scored a 35 yd TD run to bring us within 6 of Buffalo, our defense got a big stop and we took over on the 50 yard line with 30 seconds left. On the first play of this drive I hit a quick fade to my receiver and he would take it to the house. We would win the game 21-20. This is most memorable for me because this game set the tone for a 5 game win streak that sent us to the play-offs for the first time in 6 years.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: My biggest challenge I face every day. It is nothing sports related. My biggest challenge is being a father. Making sure I teach my daughter how to cope with any challenge life throws her way. I can’t protect her from everything. I do my best to prepare her for life. To have a loving and accepting heart. This is so challenging because as we all know as we grow older, life is ever changing, life is ruthless, and time waits for no one.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: I would compare myself to Julian Edelman. Despite our similar size and skill sets; I believe we mirror each other in our ability to be system players. We can come into any situation, learn our role, and contribute.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: My biggest strength is my ability to be quarterback friendly. What I mean by that, “I do my job and I do it great.” Whether I have to set up a block, decoy route, catch the ball in traffic, fight for the first, etc. the quarterback and coaches can trust I will do my job and be in a position to help the team to be successful. I am selfless, coachable, and take criticism very well.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I am a teacher at Hearne Junior High and a coach at Hearne High School. I am blessed to be in a position to impact children’s not one or two times a week but EVERYDAY!
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: With my vast experience and knowledge in the Strength & Conditioning field, I have written my own training program that will begin 8 weeks prior to the combine. In 2018 I ran an unofficial 4.43 40 yd dash. My goal is the make an official 4.4 or 4.5 40 yd dash, and perform well during the positon drills.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: My ultimate achievement, in sports, would be earning a contract with a professional team in either the CFL or NFL.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: When I am not playing football I enjoy spending time with my family, training athletes, and cutting hair.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: My positive impact on all of society would be to spread the Gospel. Everyone has already receive salvation through the blood of Christ. Though not everyone has accepted it and not everyone knows that is theirs to accept. I want to let as many people in this world know that God is waiting to have a relationship with you.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: The most influential person in my life has been my Mom and Dad. The sacrifices they made to ensure my siblings and learned how to work for everything but never need for anything is so impactful to me. Especially now as a father.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: Most people don’t know that I cut hair. I am pretty nice with the clippers if I do say so myself.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: Aside from being a professional athlete, my dream job would be to have my own, state of the art, performance facility that is home to many professional athletes.