Matt Ryan (QB)
When a new coaching staff, headed by Jeff Jagodzinski, took over at Boston College during the spring, there were many questions, but the staff felt that the quarterback picture was in very capable hands with Ryan at the helm.
Recovered from a nagging foot injury that plagued him throughout the 2006 season, the lanky quarterback has compiled a 25-7 record as a starter for the Eagles.
Ryan went on to earn Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year honors as a senior and was emerging as one of the Heisman Trophy favorites until the Eagles lost three of their final five regular season games. He would go on to rank eighth in the nation in total offense and established new school records for 400-yard passing performances in both a career and season, en route to throwing for 4,507 yards.
At William Penn Charter School, Ryan earned All-East honors from Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report. He also captured All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback, in addition to receiving All-City first-team honors in 2002 and second-team recognition in 2001. He also was a three-time All-League (InterAc) selection.
Ryan threw for more than 1,300 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions as a senior. He finished his career by completing more than 52 percent of his pass attempts during his three seasons at the helm. He served as football team captain in 2002 and also captained the school's basketball and baseball teams.
Ryan followed in the footsteps of his uncle, John Loughery, who played quarterback at Boston College from 1979-82. He enrolled at the university in 2003, spending the season performing on the scout team. He earned BC's Freshman Male Scholar-Athlete Award recognition in 2004. He appeared in seven games, starting the regular-season finale vs. Syracuse. He hit on 35-of-71 passes (49.3%) for 350 yards, a pair of touchdowns and three interceptions.
The MVP of the MPC Computers Bowl vs. Boise State, Ryan started five of 10 games for the Eagles in 2005. He took over starting duties from Quinton Porter midway through the season, going on to throw for 1,514 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions on 121-of-195 throws (62.1%). He also rushed 37 times for 94 yards (2.5-yard average) and five scores, becoming the first BC quarterback since 1998 to run for two scores in a game (vs. Ball State).
A broken bone in his left foot limited Ryan's mobility the second half of season, but he still earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors in 2006. He led the ACC in total offense (242.25 yards per game), points responsible for (9.63 per game), pass completions (No. 10 in the nation with 21.92 per game) and passing yards per game (15th nationally with an average of 245.17 yards per game). He completed 263-of-427 passes (61.6%) for 2,942 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for four scores, finishing with 2,907 yards in total offense.
Ryan underwent offseason foot surgery and was fully recovered by spring drills. The team offensive captain was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year and earned league Player of the Week honors six times during the 2007 campaign. He shattered single-season BC records, as he completed 388-of-654 passes (59.3%) for 4,507 yards, 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He also scored twice on 68 carries, finishing with 4,509 yards in total offense, an average of 322.1 yards per game.
In 45 games at Boston College, Ryan started 34 contests. He connected on 837 of 1,347 passes (59.91%) for 9,313 yards, 56 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. He rushed 168 times for 58 yards (0.3-yard avg) and 11 scores, adding a one-yard reception and one solo tackle. He lost seven of his 17 total fumbles and was sacked 50 times for losses totaling 381 yards. On 1,515 offensive plays, he amassed 9,371 yards in total offense, an average of 208.24 yards per game.
Attended William Penn (Philadelphia, Pa.) Charter School, playing football for head coach Brian McCloskey...Earned All-East honors from Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report...Also captured All-Southeastern Pennsylvania accolades as a senior quarterback, in addition to receiving All-City first-team honors in 2002 and second-team recognition in 2001...Three-time All-League (InterAc) selection...Threw for more than 1,300 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions as a senior...Finished his career by completing more than 52 percent of his pass attempts during all three seasons at the helm...Served as football team captain in 2002 and also captained the school's basketball and baseball teams...Competed as a small forward in basketball and as a pitcher and shortstop on the baseball squad.
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Positives: Has a tall frame with good muscle tone and, while a bit lean, he has the frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness...More of a short-to-intermediate passer, but he does a good job of going through progressions and is limber enough to make those throws while on the move...Very accurate passer when flushed out of the pocket, but has the strength to step up and absorb punishment...Shows the balance and body control to throw the ball across his body from the outside hashes, demonstrating good lateral slide (4.29 20-yard shuttle) for his position...Has a quick drive back from center to his throwing point, setting his feet properly before delivering the throw...Good team leader who puts in the extra hours in the film room and training room...Good lifter who plays with a fiery attitude and won't back away from a confrontation...Has very good game-management skills, making quick decisions while generally showing proper judgment...Cool under pressure and knows how to step up and avoid the bull rush...Seems to have ice water running through his veins and is never rattled, despite facing a fierce pass rush...Has complete command of the huddle and the training staff calls him one of the toughest players to ever wear a BC uniform, citing his dedication and long hours rehabilitating from offseason foot surgery...Drives away from center with a fluid stride and has the body control to quickly get into position to make the throw, whether in the pocket or on the move (can pass from the sprint or from dropback action)...Has an over-the-shoulder delivery and release, carrying the ball chest-high, and has a quick wrist flick and ability to adjust his release depending on the throwing situation, but he makes most of his mistakes on the deep ball. In that situation, he threw nine of his 10 interceptions in 2006 and 10 of 14 in '07...It is rare to see him force the ball, showing patience going through progressions and also has the intelligence to get innovative...Has the strength to stand tall in the pocket and will not be forced into rushing his throws (will take a sack rather than fire into traffic)...Not easy to knock down once he gets on the move and is a slippery runner who lacks valid foot speed, but has good side-step agility...Inspires the confidence of the entire team on the field and he is a mature leader who won't point fingers, rather accepting blame for a broken play...Excels throwing in the short area, as he puts good zip and touch on his throws, especially on underneath and crossing routes...Can vary his speed and take something off when working in this area...Very good game manager who has the pinpoint accuracy to put the ball into tight areas and keeps the receivers in their routes, doing a nice job of hitting them out of the breaks...Can vary the speed on his short throws, but can drill it to his targets while on the move without having his man have to adjust...Has a nice feel for pocket pressure, demonstrating the vision to locate the backside action and does a good job of stepping up and out to avoid, but will not hesitate to tuck the ball and run with it, if he locates a good crease...Has the ideal height you look for in a quarterback to scan the field over the defensive linemen and is quick to check down and locate his secondary receivers, keeping defenses honest when rolling out, as he does not need to set his feet to fire the ball on the move...In 2007, he showed improved footwork in his setup, driving back from center much smoother than in the past...Surveys the field and goes through progressions well, but needs to look off his primary target more often...Worked hard to improve throwing the deep pass with better placement...Not really an escape artist, but he shows good awareness to pressure and has enough mobility to elude heat in the pocket...Knows how to vary the speed of his tosses when working underneath.
Negatives: Lacks the arm strength to challenge the deep secondary, as his long throws tend to flutter or hang up long enough for defenders to attack the ball in flight (see 2006 Brigham Young and Wake Forest contests and 2007 Massachusetts and Virginia Tech games)...Needs to do a better job of planting his feet to get more zip behind his long throws...Has inconsistent and adequate velocity when firing the ball deep...Weakest area of his game is exposed when he attempts to fire the deep ball, as the pass tends to lack accuracy...Runs too hot and cold when trying to air the ball out, as his long throws lack trajectory...Needs to improve timing on his deep throws, as he is very inconsistent hitting those targets coming out of cuts...Holds for PATs and field goals, but needs to be quicker fielding and placing the ball...Strong runner with the ball, but runs a bit erect, resulting in fumble issues, as he does not always protect the ball when breaking past the line of scrimmage...Does not have the foot quickness to keep defenses honest as a runner and while he shows good vision as a passer, he will run into a crowd when carrying the pigskin (needs to be more alert to cutback lanes)...When he generates a high push in his delivery or throws off his back foot, his passes lose some zip, resulting in a high amount of tosses getting deflected (see 2007 North Carolina State, Massachusetts, Virginia Tech and Florida State games)...When he holds on to the ball too long waiting for his receivers to break, he will leave his passes behind too often (see 2007 Wake Forest, Virginia Tech SEC Game, Florida State and Maryland contests)...Needs to make quicker decisions when he is flushed out of the pocket and must stop trying to force his throws into tight areas...Needs to protect the ball better; had fumble issues in 2007, especially after getting sacked (see 2007 Georgia Tech, Miami and Michigan State games).
Compares To: MATT SCHAUB-Houston...Before 2007, Ryan looked a lot like the Jets' Chad Pennington, only much more effective utilizing a short-to-intermediate area passing attack. He has good mobility to throw when flushed out of the pocket and is an efficient game manager. He shows good strength stepping up in the pocket and the lateral agility to side-step the bull rush, but is not a threat to get big real estate with his feet. He lacks accuracy and arm strength when unleashing the long ball, as most of his interceptions were the result of him trying to attack the deep secondary. He is a cool field general with a great work ethic and shows some similarity to Rich Gannon (ex-Raiders, Chiefs) in his ability to be innovative on the field. He is not a good fit for a vertical passing attack, but for a team comfortable moving the chains with a mistake-free engineer at the helm, they could find a nice fit in Ryan during the draft's first day.
2006: Suffered a left foot bone fracture (fifth metatarsal) vs. Virginia Tech (10/12), sitting out the Buffalo clash.
2007: Underwent left foot surgery on Jan. 5 to repair the broken bone in his left foot.
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