Damien High School senior Liam Ryan always thought his future was in basketball because it was the sport he played the most growing up. He only played one year of youth football.
But his sophomore year then-basketball coach Matt Dunn sat him down and told him otherwise. The popular coach, who recently moved over to St. John Bosco, told Ryan he should really think more seriously about football.
Dunn turned out to be right. While Ryan was a starter for a Damien basketball team that won a Division 3 state title earlier this spring, he was more of a role player than anything else.
Meanwhile his stock continues to rise on the gridiron. Ryan, a 6-foot-6, 270-pounder, already has nine offers and we’re still a month away from the first game.
“It really was kind of a surprise. I always thought of myself as a basketball player first,” he said. “I only played one year of Junior All-American football.”
Of course, good offensive lineman aren’t easy to find.
So far Ryan has attracted offers from Washington State, San Jose State, Sacramento State, New Mexico, Nevada, Air Force, Fresno State, San Diego State and Eastern Washington.
The first offer came from Eastern Washington in early May. The week after that he got three more. That’s when it all sunk in.
“When I got the first it was great because it let me know things were going in the right direction. Then I got three more the next week and it was really kind of overwhelming,”
Ryan hasn’t taken any official visits yet but he is starting to look seriously at his options. He plans to visit Fresno State, San Jose State, Sacramento State and Nevada next week.
A good season this year will land him even more opportunities and with the Spartans playing in the Baseline League for the second year, there will be plenty of opportunities to be seen by higher profile schools.
The Spartans will boast one of the area’s top running backs in Dylan Thigpen so Ryan will be among those up front clearing the way for him.
“I’m really excited for this season,” he said. “I think we’re going to be better and surprise some people.”