A late start, but a Sweet finish

Senior played quarterback through junior year of high school, competed against his brother in game in 2015



Senior wide receiver Kyle Sweet played soccer until he was about 8 years old before trying out football. Sweet contemplated quitting in his first season but his parents wouldn’t let him. “They said if you’re going to start something … it’s not OK to quit halfway through,” he said.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen deputy sports editor

When Kyle Sweet first stepped on a freshly-cut field with faded white lines bordering it, he wasn’t playing football — he was playing soccer.

Sweet kicked, scored and slide tackled his way across the pitch until he was about 8 years old, when his dad Eric and brother Logan convinced him to try out football. Sweet wasn’t the biggest fan of the sport at first.

“I ended up playing one year and I hated it, absolutely hated it,” he said.

Sweet thought about quitting in the middle of the season but his parents wouldn’t let him.

“They said if you’re going to start something … it’s not OK to quit halfway through,” he said.

So Sweet didn’t quit and he finished out the year. From then on, Sweet fell in love with the game and hasn’t stopped playing since.

Now the senior wide receiver is in his final season and hoping to leave his mark on the program.

Growing up, Sweet saw his older brother Logan as a role model. Despite being five years apart in age, Logan said he and Sweet had a lot of the same interests and his only regret is not having the chance to play together.

“I couldn’t have been happier about having someone like [Sweet] and having someone who listens like [him],” he said. “It’s not just someone who looks up to you, but it’s someone who listens and values what you have to say … it was always cool to be that mentor on my end.”

Logan said he and Sweet tried out every sport they could think of when they were kids, and he believes there wasn’t anything that was going to stop them from playing football. He said it was clear from the moment Sweet stepped on the field he was meant to play the game.

Sweet played quarterback through his junior year of high school before transitioning to wide receiver. Logan said Sweet was very versatile and could play a handful of different positions.

“Kyle was that guy in high school that did it all,” he said.

When Sweet was coming out of high school, he wasn’t heavily recruited. Only two schools showed any interest in him, one being WSU.

Sweet said he figured out where he was going to school the moment the Cougars reached out to him.

“It was like no question as soon as they offered me here, I knew I was coming,” he said. “I really had no idea where Pullman was or what it was like.”

Sweet went to Santa Margarita Catholic High School and for two years he played alongside former WSU wide receiver River Cracraft, who is currently on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad.

Sweet said Cracraft put in a good word for him at WSU as the wideout was searching for a college.

“From what I know, [River] was just chirping in coaches’ ears all the time saying ‘Hey, check this guy out,’ ” he said.

One thing Sweet, Cracraft and Logan all have in common is they were all brought to their respective schools by Jim Mastro, who coached the running backs at WSU from 2012-17 and was a coach at University of California, Los Angeles, in 2011.

“That’s kind of how the Sweets, the Cracrafts and Mastro connect,” Cracraft said.

Once Sweet got to Pullman, he didn’t receive much playing time in his freshman season until Cracraft broke his foot and Sweet had to step up and fill in for him as a starter.

Sweet made his first career start on Nov. 14, 2015, against UCLA. His brother Logan was on the other side of the field that day donning the blue and gold while wearing No. 86 for the Bruins.

Kyle Sweet, from left, his sister Kaelie and brother Logan pose for a photo after the two brothers played in a game against each other on Nov. 14, 2015 in Pasadena, California.

Cracraft said it was awesome that Sweet got to fill in for and compete against his brother.

“Obviously, I would have liked it to have been under different circumstances, I would have loved to play in that UCLA game, but [Sweet] earned it,” he said. “I think if we hadn’t crossed paths at the same time, [Sweet] would’ve been starting the day he walked on campus … I don’t know if the goal was for me to get injured for him to start against his brother, but I’m really happy it worked out like that.”

Logan, who is now 26, tore his ACL in his junior year of high school and ended up walking on at UCLA and earned a scholarship with the Bruins about a year and a half later.

On the night Sweet made his first career start against the Bruins in Pasadena, California, it was also Logan’s senior day.

Sweet said Logan played mostly on special teams in the game, but it was amazing to have the chance to share the same field with his brother in a game and ultimately beat his team.

“It was kind of bittersweet because I wanted UCLA to win but I wanted [Sweet] to do really well,” Logan said. “So I was like ‘OK, I hope he crushes it on our defense’ and I hope UCLA wins the game for my benefit and my interests.”

When Cracraft was on the team, Sweet said he looked up to him whether it was running extra routes or working out while outside the designated team hours.

“[Cracraft] was kind of the guy that instilled [in me] just what you do with the team, that’s not enough,” he said. “You got to do extra all of the time.”

Sweet has carried this mindset with him throughout his career at WSU and has taken on the challenge of being the go-to guy when the team needs a first down or a touchdown on fourth and goal from the 5-yard line.

“I love it,” he said. “I pride myself on doing my job, being where I need to be and … finding space.”

Despite his experience, Sweet said he doesn’t feel his game has evolved, he’s just gotten more used to the Air Raid offense.

“I’ve gotten more comfortable as a player and I’ve seen more,” he said. “I’ve been through game situations and I’ve seen everything you’ll see in a Pac-12 game.”

Sweet is hoping for a historic ending to his collegiate career. He wants the Cougs to claim the conference championship and defeat the University of Washington, who the team has failed to defeat during Sweet’s time at WSU.

“I don’t like anything about UW,” he said. “There’s not much to say about that, I just want to beat them.”