The soon to be senior has lost over forty pounds and has dropped .4 seconds off his forty time this off-season. His goal is to be at 280 pounds when football rolls around. Losing another ten pounds should be easy for the defensive tackle. So who convinced Widener that losing the weight would be a good thing?
"Coach Hill was really the one, along with my father, that got me turned on about losing the weight. He told me that if I lost it, I could be a great player," stated Widener to PonyStampede.com. "I was a good athlete at 335, but I can take my game to the next level at this weight. He gave me a lot of advice about things. He has come to my school a couple times and we have had great conversations. He is really a great guy."
With the massive weight loss, college football programs are noticing. Widener has had great camp performances in the last couple of weeks, including making the Sooner Illustrated (OU Scout.com) All-Camp First Team. Widener also made a trip to the Hilltop a couple weeks to attend SMU's camp and walked away very happy.
"I think that I did pretty well at the SMU camp. I have been waiting for Coach Hill or Coach Jones to contact me about it. They said at the camp that they liked what they saw," said the 2010 prospect. "If they offered me, they would be my top school. They have been there the whole time since I have started the recruiting process. I have a good relationship with them. They already have thirteen commitments, so it shows that Coach Jones is really trying to step the program up."
So when is the big defensive tackle looking to make a decision?
"It really depends on who offers me and what it is. I don't really have a set date, I just want to make sure that I feel right about it," said Widener. "I'm looking for academics. I want to major in Sports Management. I also want to know where I will fit into the system right away. I want to know whether there will be some playing time."
Ryland Widener also played basketball and throws the shot put on the track team. He has a 3.25 GPA. Stay close to PonyStampede.com and Scout.com for all the latest recruiting news.