Interview With Ryen Carew

The walk-on running back, <b>Ryen Carew</b>, has stepped into the #4 running back slot pretty quickly. He was characterized by one UCLA coach as "a steal." How does UCLA get one of the best running backs in SoCal in 2004 to walk on this spring?

Ryen Carew is a running back who enrolled at UCLA in winter quarter, in time for winter practice. He was considered one of the best running backs in Southern California his junior year at Sylmar High School in the fall of 2002, and then transferred for his senior season of 2003 and graduated in 2004.

How did it come about that you came to UCLA? 

"First, I went from Sylmar to Verdugo Hills..."

Now, were you recruited your senior year at Verdugo Hills?

"Yes, I was. By Duke and Cal. I was supposed to go to Cal on a visit. The recruiter came over to my house, and he said we'd schedule a trip to Cal, but then they said they picked up somebody else. They told me to walk on. And I was like, 'Nah, that's allright.'"

Did you have any offers?

"I did, from Colorado. But I didn't jump on it. I wasn't too excited about it."

But what happened for the last year? You graduated in 2004.

"I've just been working out and lifting weights, and..."

But why didn't you walk on to UCLA in the fall?

"It was because I was going to go to a JC and do that to earn a scholarship at a four-year school. But I changed my mind. I didn't feel like it was right, and it didn't work out. So I thought I'd come here and try to earn a scholarship."

So, you thought you were going to a JC, but then decided not to, and it was too late to come to UCLA?

"Yeah. You know, I didn't want to get lost in the shuffle at the JC.  Let's say I had one bad year, I might not then make it to a good school. But walking on now, I'm already here. And UCLA had an offer on the table so I was, like, I'll come here. I probably could have come here in the fall, but it would have been pretty late, and I would have been behind and not known the plays, and just sat on the sideline for nothing. I feel like this was a good opportunity to come in now, in spring, so I have more years to play and I can learn the offense and get bigger."

So you're about 5-10?

"Yeah, maybe 5-11."

How much do you weight?

"I weigh 195."

Your junior year you ran for...

"My junior year I ran for 2,100 and at Verdugo 1,937."

Did you want to go to UCLA? Why UCLA?

"It's close to home, and I like the weather. I always wanted to play here, so it was a good opportunity to get everything straight. There were all of these stories about me saying I'm a bad person. I thought this was a fresh, new start."

How were you academically in high school?

"Really good. I had a 3.9 GPA and score a 1010 on the SAT.

What do you want to get out of UCLA?

"A degree. I'd like to major in biology and do pharmaceutical sales. Be a legal drug dealer (laughs)."

Do you think you'll have a shot at playing time?

"I want to just play hard and put in the work and hopefully the playing time will work out. They have some pretty good running backs here.  But I think while I'm here for the next four or five years I'll be able to get some playing time, yeah. I'm hoping I'll improve enough and continue to get bigger so I'll be able to contribute next fall."

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