March 23, 2019

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Diamond in the Rough: Ryan Mckenzie

Ryan McKenzie is a 6’4, 304-pound offensive lineman from Welsh High School. Ryan told me that being a student athlete helped him handle the academic aspect of things. “I would push harder in academics”. Ryan clearly shows that academics are equally as important as his on field performance. As we talked, he explained how he handles pressure situations. “I just try to stay calm”. As simple as that sounds, that’s honestly how you prevent making mistakes that cost your team the game. 

‘Dominant’ was the word that Ryan would use to describe himself. “I play offensive line. You have to be dominant; you have to have that kind of mindset. It’s a physical position”. McKenzie couldn’t be anymore right about his statement. The guys in the trenches don’t get the praise or recognition they deserve. Ryan believes that he can bring a dominant mentality and leadership to a college program. To play offensive line at the next level, you need that dominant mentality to stay in the game on any Saturday. Having a high motor and physicality is something he believes is his strong suit. An individual with high motor combined with a dominant mentality has the makings of a player with potential. 

As our interview continued, I asked him if he would rather be a part of the rebuilding process or the rewards process. “Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I think I would rather be a part of the rebuilding process because you get the most out of yourself. Just out there grinding on the field, working towards change in the future”. Having a guy on your team who is willing to stay committed towards the bigger picture even if he won’t be in it, is a great player to have on any team. He believes, however, that his weakness is “being too hard on himself”. As a former player, I was very hard on myself as well. I wouldn’t say that being too hard on yourself is a bad thing unless it starts to affect your performance and your ability to move on from that play. When players tell me that they’re hard on themselves, it shows me that they care about their craft and they don’t want to stay stagnant in their performance. 

Lastly, I asked Ryan to describe a time where he had to make a quick decision. “It was the state championship and we were running a pass play. Next thing I know, my quarterback starts running, so I lead, and I made a good block”. As an offensive lineman, keeping your head on a swivel is a necessity. Whether it’s a run play or a pass play, anything can happen. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on, so you can have a better chance of moving the chains. Ryan is a smart guy. He knows that he has to work on his craft to be a successful player. He does this by staying committed both on the field and in the classroom.