Former D3 Offensive Lineman Nathaniel Ryan eats, sleeps, and breathes football especially if he’s competing in an atmosphere that starts with the letter M. The former Morrisville State College Mustang is really making some noise out in the state of Montana. Ryan starts at Center for the Billings Wolves of the IFL, a team that is on the rise after clinching a playoff spot as they host the Nebraska Danger July 9th.
Like many other athletes, Ryan’s path to the IFL has been nothing short of a rocky road. The journey for Ryan began back in 2010 following graduation from Port Richmond High School on Staten Island. Despite having a standout senior campaign for the Red Raiders, Ryan only received interest from a few colleges one of which was Morrisville State, a former JUCO powerhouse that had recently joined as an NCAA Division 3 school under Head Coach Terry Dow. Ryan committed to Morrisville State entering the Fall of 2010 as his older brother Brendan was already a member of the Mustangs football team which made him feel at home. Ryan found himself starting in all 10 games his freshmen season a year in which the Mustangs went 2-8. Despite being frustrated, Ryan continued to workout in the offseason and looked to help the Mustangs improve entering the 2011 season. The Mustangs woes continued that season as they finished 1-9 despite nearly upsetting nationally ranked Montclair State at homecoming and William Paterson on the road. Ryan was named to the NJAC Honorable Mention team after another solid performance that season. In 2012 the Mustangs finished 1-9 again as Ryan was named NJAC Honorable Mention for the 2nd consecutive season. However, things were about to change in Morrisville entering the 2013 season.
Morrisville State began holding interviews for a new head coaching vacancy after Terry Dow was released from his contract. After searching and conducting several interviews, former St.John Fisher standout Quarterback and current Utica College Offensive Coordinator Curt Fitzpatrick emerged as the leading candidate and was hired immediately. Under Fitzpatrick, Ryan entered his senior campaign learning a much faster and more dynamic offensive scheme after being named a D3 Preseason All-American. That season, Nate Ryan helped anchor an offense that led the NJAC in multiple categories including rushing yards, passing yards, and points scored. The Mustangs managed to break several school records that season and even finished 9th in the country for total offense. Ryan was named 1st team All-NJAC, 2nd team East Region and recieved an invitation to compete in the D3 Classic as well as the D1-AA FCS Senior Scout Bowl.
Following graduation from Morrisville State, Ryan was signed by the Green Bay Blizzard of the IFL. Just when it looked like the 6-2 320 pound lineman had found a home competeting at the next level in Wisconsin, the Blizzard elected to release Ryan despite starting in a few games. He wasn’t a free agent for long though as another team in the IFL the Billings Wolves discovered Ryan’s ability and signed him immediately. Ryan made an impact for the Wolves in 2015 despite the team finishing 5-9 but they did defeat Ryan’s former team the Blizzard, an accomplishment that the big fella most certainly enjoyed because after all revenge in sports is bittersweet.The Wolves invited him back for the 2016 season where he has been blocking for standout talents like Quarterback Cory Murphy and Running Back Cartel Brooks. Ryan and Murphy may have developed one of the strongest bonds in the IFL as the offensive line led by Ryan cleared several paths last weekend in a 63-27 win over Tri-Cities in which Murphy rushed for an impressive 6 Touchdowns despite only making his third career start. Minus competing in the playoffs/postseason in high school, this playoff matchup for Nate Ryan July 9th versus the Danger at Rimrock Arena appears to be much much larger than that especially after the offensive lineman missed out on his alumni Morrisville State finishing 9-2 to win the NJAC as well as a bowl game just a season after Ryan graduated. We wish Nate Ryan and the Billings Wolves the best of luck in the playoffs as well as the future.