By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – After a hot summer day spent playing ball with his friends, an 8-year-old Logan Ryan walked into his house in Berlin, NJ and told his father about his grand plan. He was going play in the NFL.
“When you’re younger, when you’re in grade school yay high you just want to get there. You want to play,” Ryan said after announcing he’d be forgoing his senior year and declared for the NFL Draft. “I wanted to be an NBA player. I wanted to be an NFL player.”
Lester Ryan told his son he’s not working on anything to be in the NFL. That he’d have to be serious about it. And the first step was going to play college football.
And so, the 8-year-old kid got out an index card and a marker, scribbling “D-I” [Division I] on the card and taping it above his bed. The reason Ryan did so was simple.
“So everyday I woke up I would see that and try to get focused on that,” Ryan said.
In turn, Ryan increased his draft stock. So while his dad kept tabs on his son’s NFL future so Logan could focus on the football season, the feedback Lester got kept getting better and better.
“I spoke to various people who I trust,” Lester Ryan said. “I have friends who are in the NFL, friends who are attorneys in the NFL. I started getting thumbs-up texts and hearing good things.
“Not really a draft grade but that he’s being talked about by a lot of people. Who knows where he goes [in the draft] but I’m confident that with his work ethic he’ll probably be a pretty good prospect.”
Most draft experts have Ryan tabbed as a second round pick. A topnotch cover corner with four interceptions and 18 passes defended, Ryan also displayed his ability as a tackler, ranking second on the team with 94.
But how Ryan does at the NFL Combine and Rutgers’ Pro Day will determine his draft status. Which is why the 6-foot, 190-pounder feels like he has more control over his future than anyone else.
“Getting drafted is all on you. It’s all on me personally. I decide where I get drafted,” Ryan said. “So I’m going to work hard and try and get drafted as high as possible.”
Achieving that boyhood dream in the process.
“It’s just a start of the dream really,” Ryan said. “No one wants to just declare for the draft. I want to play in the NFL and I want to be great in the NFL, so I think it’s the start of the dream.”