"Walking On" Sunshine

Tuesday morning, freshman Ryan Pettis stood on the sidelines and watched on as the University of Cincinnati football team took the field in Nippert for their first spring practice. Monday morning, he did something even more exciting.

He walked on.


Pettis was one of four players to be accepted as a walk-on during Monday’s try-out.  Over 20 aspiring Bearcats were present, trying their hardest to make the team.


“They had us warm up.  They had all the players do a 40-yard dash, shuttle run, and some bag drills just to see how we moved,” said Pettis of part of the day’s activities.


Filing and the turning in of paperwork kept Pettis from hitting the field Tuesday with the rest of his now-teammates, but it was still an exciting day for the freshman.


“I get my equipment today,” he said with a grin.  “And hopefully I’ll get started tomorrow.”


“I’m really excited to become a part of this program,” he added.


Pettis may be a walk-on, but he didn’t completely come from off of the Bearcats’ radar.  While also having connections with recruiting coach Mike Elston, Pettis was able to show his stuff to another UC assistant coach during the recruiting period.


“I knew some of the coaches,” Pettis said.  “I knew Greg Forest, the quarterbacks coach.  He came to my school and watched me and another player work out.”


Pettis is a defensive end hailing from Columbus, Ohio.  While he admits he’s got love for his hometown team, he’s also got nothing but love for his new city and new team.


“I’m a Buckeye fan,” he admitted.  “I like the Buckeyes, but Cincinnati’s my team now.”


Pettis had nothing but good things to say about his new home away from home, school, and football program.


“I just liked the Cincinnati environment, the campus, and I love the football program,” he said.  “It’s a great program, and it’s going positive places.”


What is the newest member of the Bearcats football squad most looking forward to in the coming weeks?


“Practicing and getting back into football,” he said assertively.  “I haven’t played in over a year and a half (Liberty), and I’m just excited to get back on the field and get it started.”


We’ll keep a sharp eye on Pettis as he gets it started during the remainder of the Bearcats’ spring practice.


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