Chris Ryan set standard for runningbacks at PRCC

October 6, 2011 - 9:03pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - In Pearl River Community College long and storied football history, Chris Ryan was the Wildcats most punishing runner of all time, a runaway train so to speak. People around Mississippi junior college circles still talk about his explosive style, his ability to run like a tailback for a man who tipped the scales at 260 pounds. Chris was the perfect fullback for the type offense we ran back then, said Willie Coats, Ryan coach at PRCC from 1992-93. Back then, you had to have a good, big inside runner to keep the defenses honest. He was a good one. Ryan, who played his high school ball at Sulphur (La.) High School, is still PRCC all-time leading rusher. His school record 2,688 career yards ranks first. His rushing attempts (224) and yards (1,424) his sophomore season rank first. He was just as dynamic his freshman season, rushing for 1,243 yards and 16 touchdowns, leading the Wildcats to a 10-1 record and the MACJC state championship game. They would finish No. 4 in the nation. He was first team all-state both years and first team All-American his sophomore season. Ryan accomplishments on the football field have earned him a place in the college''s Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Saturday, Oct. 15, during 2011 Homecoming festivities. Pearl River was a great experience for me, said Ryan. I had never been away from home before. I was like a little baby. I actually cried when I got there. I learned quite a bit of football under Coach Coats while I was there. Coats didnt just happen on Ryan. He was voted the most valuable player in Louisiana in 1991. As a senior, he rushed for 1,359 yards and 20 touchdowns. LSU wanted to sign him, but he did not have the grades. Larry Edmondson (LSU assistant coach) put me on Chris, said Coats. We looked at the films and saw how big he was. He ran the relays on his high school track team. He was also the state shot put champion. We played a lot of sandlot ball when I was growing up and everybody wanted to be either the quarterback or the running back, said Ryan. We had some good athletes in my family, so I had some God-given talent. I was very blessed to have both size and speed. Ryan success at Pearl River began right away. His freshman year he rushed for more than 100 yards six times, including 212 yards against Hinds. He became known as the Ryan Express. The Wildcats were 16-5 in his two years at PRCC. Said Ryan, I am still good friends with a lot of those guys I played with back then. We had a lot of talent there besides me. Ryan went on to play at Clarke Atlanta University for two years before signing a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings. They had a lot of good runners back then and I got cut, said Ryan. So I went to work for Delta Airlines. One day my coach at Minnesota called and told me about the Arena Football League and this team from Michigan wanted to look at me. He played professionally from 1999-2008 with the Philadelphia Soul and the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Rampage. He was a 305-pound fullback and linebacker, leading the Rampage to a championship in 2001. It wasnt a bad living, said Ryan. We made between $45,000 and $50,000 a year. Then the league ran into financial trouble and my body just gave out. Today, Ryan is back in Sulphur working as a security guard.NAME: Chris RyanHOMETOWN: Sulphur, La.FAMILY: SingleEDUCATION: Graduated from Sulphur (La.) High School, 1992; attended Pearl River, 1992-93; graduated from Clarke Atlanta University, 1996.OCCUPATION: Security guard for Loomis U.S., Lake Charles, La.

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