California two-way star with Husker offer

At 6 foot, 2 inches, 225 pounds, Ryan McCants is an athletic force. He's physical to be sure, but his size belies his quickness on either side of the ball. Nebraska usually looks for those types, projecting them to more than one position. Such is the case with Ryan. The question is, though: Will what the Huskers want him to play be the position he ultimately wants to play in college?

Averaging over six yards per carry last year for Santiago high (Corona, CA), and it's not hard to see what one of Ryan McCant'sstrengths are.

As every other player seems to be getting bigger, but still retaining their speed, coaches from around the country seem to be looking more and more for that big type of player, whose athleticism doesn't suffer because of it.

That's McCants, as his stats speak for themselves on offense and his 50 tackles and two sacks from the defensive end position says plenty as well.

But before you go labeling this young man as a brutish sort, relying more on physicality than athleticism, Ryan offers his own opinion as to his ability, which he thinks covers a lot more than just putting your head down and going. "I think I am pretty quick for someone my size, and I am really good at finding the hole on offense and just hitting it with everything I have.

Ryan will admit, though, that if he gets in trouble or doesn't see that hole, he'll revert to his bread n' butter. "If I know I can't get around the guy, I'm going to run him over," he said. "I want the defender to know he's not going to like tackling me very much."

Ok, now transfer that to the defensive side and you get much of the same response as to just what this young man can do. "One thing I am really good at is reading my keys and making sure I am in a position to make a tackle," Ryan said. "Plus, I am quick off the ball and I am pretty strong for my size."

McCants has that much right to be sure as right now; he's benching 315 and squatting well over 400. And while his 4.6/40 doesn't seem like it's too terribly good, it certainly hasn't slowed him and you don't need a 4.40/40 to be active or even disruptive.

McCants said that he loves being disruptive, because it just means everyone else on the team gets their own shot to shine. "They spend a lot of attention on me, so I'm doing to do my best to make sure other players get involved," Ryan said. "I'm good at getting off that edge, and if it's a passing situation, I know I can get into the backfield all day."

There's no dilemma about Ryan's ability, but some would want to know just what position he'll play in college. He's good on both sides, has been offered for both sides (Ole Miss as a running back – Nebraska as a linebacker or defensive end) and that kind of diversity in the attention he's getting seems to confirm just how versatile he is.

Versatility or not, though, in a perfect world McCants said that running back would be the spot for him. But if that doesn't happen, he's not closing the door on anyone. "I'm more comfortable playing running back, because that's where I think I can make more big plays than I could on defense," he said. "I'm not going to say the position is the key to the recruiting deal, though. Whatever place it is, whatever position they want me for, I'm far more interested in the program, the academics and the team itself. I can work on all that position stuff later."

As mentioned above, Nebraska is recruiting McCants for defense, either at linebacker or defensive end. And if there is one thing Ryan knows about the Huskers, it's the fact that right now, they are known as a defensive team. "I don't know much about them, but I know that's a defensive team," he said. "It'd be exciting to be part of something like that, because they really have a defense that intimidates.

Ryan can relate to that. He intimidates just about anyone on the field, wondering if he'll come busting up the middle to them or possibly to someone else. At his size, he's just not the kind of kid you want to take from the front or up high.

McCants likes the position he puts defenses in when he does get the ball. He felt that it was up to him to dictate the game. "If I get off to a good start early, that just kind of sets up the pace for the rest of the game," he said. "You start getting into a rhythm and you can't wait until you get the ball again."

When it comes to recruiting, McCant's size and speed are intriguing to anyone. You can see him playing both sides of the ball, even if you don't actually need that aspect of his game. While there are only two offers right now for McCants, he said that plenty of other schools are showing interest, so he feels that it's just a matter of time.

That might leave Husker fans a little put off, but Ryan said that waiting on more offers isn't a way of scoping out that bigger and better deal. It's just hoping that you have an ample amount of opportunities, which you will choose from as the place for the next four or five years.

Being a California resident, many people might assume, that when USC, UCLA or even Cal jumps in with offers, it's only a matter of time before he commits. But not being from California, Ryan said that he isn't as influenced by the traditional powerhouse stature of those schools, and distance isn't really an issue. "I was born in Ohio, so I don't look at the bigger programs around here like everyone else does," he said I don't look at anyone as a place I would definitely go if they offered me."

What Ryan does care about, though, are the schools who have offered, making them his early favorites and almost certain candidates for an official visit when the time comes. "Ole Miss and Nebraska are definitely two schools I want to visit," Ryan said. "I know both are really good programs."

The key for these two schools is obviously the offers. That means each of those schools is showing plenty of interest in him, so he doesn't mind reciprocating. It means that both of those programs are the most likely, at least right now, to get official visits when the time comes around.

As to having favorites amongst this list or any other, Ryan's mind-set is pretty clear. "I want to go where I am needed and both Nebraska and Ole Miss are places I could contribute right away," Ryan said. "I'm looking at them, because they were my first offers, but they also need to work on filling spots at certain positions."

With Nebraska, there's a connection, because head coach Bill Callahan once coached Ryan's favorite NFL team, the Oakland Raiders. And again, the reputation the Huskers have for defense is awfully attractive too. It makes you think about the future, even beyond the NFL. Well, not everyone apparently, because Ryan said that the NFL is a nice thought, but not what he's thinking about right now.

"I don't really think about the NFL stuff, because that's a long ways away," he said. "I am more interested in the academics, plus the staff and how they can make me a better player. If the coaches are good people, that's good enough for me."

With two offers right now, there is no pressure on McCants to think about what he's going to do as far as officially choosing a team. When the offers increase, as they probably will, Ryan said that's when he might start to narrow it down.

The one thing he doesn't know right now, though, is just who will be recruiting him for what position. Not that it matters, because Ryan said that in the end, the position might be irrelevant, because he's not choosing a position, he's choosing a school. That's what has his interest the most. "If it's a place where I feel comfortable with the coaches and the academic institution, that's really what I am looking for," he said. "If it happens to be a couple of thousand miles away, that's ok, because I'll go wherever I feel the most at home."

"It doesn't matter to me if I don't start right away and I am not that worried about depth charts. I just want to go to the right place for me."

McCants hasn't made up his mind as to just where all of his official visits might go, but currently, Nebraska and Ole Miss seem to be certainties to get one of the five allowed.

McCants reports a 2.67 core GPA/1410 SAT

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