Roundball Champ Shines with Pigskin too

Lancaster Catholic HS's Ryan Purvis helped lead his basketball team to a championship this winter. How has basketball helped him gain exposure for football? In what teams is he most interested? For what position is he being recruited?

Name: Ryan Purvis
Position: TE
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 230 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.7
Hometown/School: Lancaster, Pa. (Lancaster Catholic HS)

Many division-one quality, high school football players use basketball as a way to stay in shape during the gridiron off-season. But for Lancaster Catholic's Ryan Purvis, basketball has been the catalyst for exposing his tremendous qualities on the football field.  

Ryan led Catholic to last winter's PIAA AAA Boys state championship game, toppling Perry Traditional Academy 75-59 at the Giant Center in Hershey.  In that game, broadcast statewide by PCN, Ryan demonstrated outstanding athletic ability for someone weighing 6'5'', 230 pounds; ability that has transformed a little known junior tight end into one of the most hotly recruited football players in the state.

"Recruiting has been really sudden actually, it hasn't been a long, ongoing process," stated Ryan, citing the impressive state tournament run for opening numerous eyes.  "[The State Championship's] right when it started, the week after is when it really started.  That's when the bulk of everything happened."

"Coach sends out a copy of the state title game with my highlight tape, so basketball and football kind of come together for me."

Ryan did admit that basketball did not completely help him with football.

"I lost some weight during the basketball season, but I'm gaining it back right now," chuckled Ryan.  "Lose ten or fifteen pounds, win a state title."

This spring, Ryan, who is being looked at exclusively at tight end, has received interest from schools nationwide including Ucla, Virginia, Michigan, Michigan State, Tulsa, Maryland, Toledo, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Penn State, some 1-AA schools (Delaware and Villanova), and some of the Ivies.

At this point in the May Evaluation period, Ryan has received just one offer--the Pittsburgh Panters--but he believes more will be on the horizon.

"My coach talked with Boston College and he said that they seem pretty close.  West Virginia said as soon as they see my film, they'll evaluate and offer.  And Michigan State said they are close," Ryan said.

Ryan has helped facilitate the recruiting process for himself by trying to get out and visit as many college campuses as he could this spring and will again this summer.

"I visited Penn State and Pitt on their junior days.  We were going to head down to Maryland for their (spring) game but it was pouring here, so we didn't head down.  This summer we're going to be doing a lot of traveling.  I think we're going to wait until school lets out and then head down to all of these schools," said Ryan.

"I think we'll head up north and see Boston College and Syracuse.  Then swing down to Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Maryland. Then head out to Pitt again and then Michigan and Michigan State."

The Nittany Lions have also expressed an interest, sending Ryan a daily dose of mail.  Along with his busy travel schedule, Ryan also plans to camp at Penn State, hoping an impressive performance will be rewarded with a scholarship from the tight-end-short Nittany Lions.

Should Penn State be considered the favorite or one of the favorites for the in-state tight end?

"I'm really just open right now.  Obviously Pittsburgh because they're the only ones who have offered right now.
After this summer when I take all these visits, I hope to have a top 5 or 6 schools that I'll really concentrate on researching about."

But don't count Penn State out just yet.

"My parents have season tickets to Penn State, so I grew up with the tailgating and then going into the games," Ryan admitted.  "I've been to millions of Penn State games.  I grew up a Blue and White fan."

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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