Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Wide receiver Sean Ryan making most of transfer to WVU

MORGANTOWN — There was a time WVU wide receiver Sean Ryan struggled to even find a football field to play on, because in Brooklyn, N.Y., they’re hard to come by.

The New York native was football-first, which is also something few-and-far-between in the city, with basketball being the go-to sport for many.

But Ryan’s father did what he could to make his son’s dream a reality, because with a long physical frame, there was definitely potential for Ryan to “get out” of the city to play college football.

The elder Ryan created the Brooklyn Bombers, and Sean ended up being one of the main attractions.

“It was rough, but we made it work. There’s not a lot of football fields in New York, but we made it work. It got a lot of other kids to buy in. They saw I wanted it, he wanted it, and we made it fun,” he said.

All it took was one offer from Temple and Ryan jumped at the opportunity, though it was still a similar environment, moving from Brooklyn to Philadelphia. He played one year with the Owls, but something still didn’t feel right, and Ryan realized it may be his own doing.

“Through my high school years and my year at Temple, I struggled with immaturity — not really being consistent and not knowing how to embrace the role of being a factor in the game, being the it factor, being that guy,” he said. “These last few years I’ve grown and accept my role and what I bring to the table.”

Ryan said he struggled listening to his coaches, thinking whatever he did was already “perfect,” and couldn’t accept constructive criticism. The staff at Temple had a more “hands-off” approach, and that’s not what Ryan needed at the time.

Knowing he had some growing up to do, Ryan decided to leave Temple and the friends he made there — getting away from an urban environment while looking for somewhere to get away from it.

That’s when he landed on Morgantown.

The Mountaineers were under a new head coach in Neal Brown and Ryan was looking to transfer in early 2019, and they were also looking to replace a lot of production lost at wide receiver with the losses of David Sills, Gary Jennings and Marcus Simms.

WVU was also a rural vibe, in comparison to NYC and Philly, where Ryan could get a clear head.

“I won’t say I wanted that, but I needed it,” he said. “I needed the structure, to be in a small hometown kind of place where everybody knows everybody and everyone is cheering you, and as soon as you step out the door, everyone supports you. That was the biggest thing I saw when I got here — they are for you, they are for the guys.

“It was crazy, The best thing about Morgantown is they accepted me with open arms. I love the fans. They take good care of us.”

It took some time for Ryan to get comfortable on the field at WVU, catching 19 passes for 219 yards in 12 games as a sophomore in 2019, but improved on that last season with 25 catches for 264 yards in 10 games.

This year, though, Ryan seems on his way to a career year with six catches for 125 yards through two games, and also had his first touchdown at WVU with a 39-yard catch and run against Long Island last week.

“Oh man, you work so hard for it,” Ryan said. “Every game you line up to score a touchdown and you go out there with the intention of scoring a touchdown. If it doesn’t come, you’re not disappointed, but you know you could have done better. To go out and get my first one in front of these fans, it felt great.”

And according to Ryan, it’s just the beginning.

“I’m just reaching my potential,” he said. “I haven’t really reached it yet. I’ve done a lot of growing and lot of self-evaluation over the last year. Seeing the changes I’ve made in myself and my body, I’ve just opened the door a little bit. I’m figuring out if I buy in 100%, everything will go the way I want it to go.”

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