Jyles Walton has a couple of aims in the next calendar year.
“Football is my passion,” the Homewood-Flossmoor senior cornerback said. “One of my goals is to help my team win state. One of my other personal goals is to elevate my business.”
Walton has a clothing business called Too Late, which can be found on Instagram @Latejy. He sells hoodies and T-shirts with plans to expand into other apparel. He sells directly to customers and hopes to open an online shop soon.
“I really love football. I’ve been playing it since I was five so I’m going to keep going, try to go to college and maybe the NFL,” he said. “If that doesn’t fall in, plan B is the clothing brand.”
Walton designs the clothes and models them himself. He’s working on a jacket to go on sale in the fall. He’s always been into fashion.
“I’m really a creative person. (Designing) is kind of easy for me. It’s just me and what I like,” he said.
On the field, the Vikings are transitioning to new coach Terrell Alexander. The offense is replacing nine starters, including quarterback Alexander Pratt. The defense will be leaned on.
Coach Alexander brings a defensive background: He played linebacker at Northern Illinois and spent the bulk of his coaching career on defense. As a defensive back, Walton said he appreciates that.
“The ultimate goal is a state championship. You don’t get into this thing to be OK. You get into this to be special,” Alexander said. “This is a special place with a lot of pride. There’s banners here. The bar is set high. I don’t think we would line up and expect to be OK. That’s not us.”
Walton will play a big role as a returning senior starter. He’ll likely line up on the opponent’s best receiver more often than not.
H-F qualified for the playoffs for 10 consecutive years before the pandemic-shortened season in the spring. Walton echoed his coach’s sentiment that just making the postseason isn’t good enough for the Vikings.
“I believe in my guys. I believe in my team,” he said. “A successful season is to win the first game to set the tone and never take a loss after that.”