With a 4.3 cumulative grade point average and a 1300 score on his first crack at the SAT, many around the West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade campus view Ryan Stevens as one of the smartest student-athletes they’ve ever been around.
While the 2019 quarterback comes with some powerful brain cells, he’s reminded by the people closest to him that he’s far from being the most intellectually sound person.
“I have heard people say that (about my intelligence), but I have been told that I am the least intelligent in my family from my four sisters,” Stevens told Scout. “But I appreciate my peers, coaches and teachers having that respect for me.”
Outside of his strong academic reputation, the 6-foot-1, 170-pound southpaw has garnered lots of respect for his quarterback play in Los Angeles County.
In splitting time with highly-coveted 2018 prospect Brevin White last season, who has since moved on to Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete, Stevens showed pinpoint accuracy and a sharp, quick release in 12 games with the Eagles – even finishing with a higher completion percentage (63.8%) and average yards per pass (15.3) than White.
Now, it’s Stevens’s show for the next two years on the cross streets of Woodlake Ave. and Cohasset St., but he's not taking his foot off the gas.
“At Chaminade, you always have to compete," Stevens said. "(Head coach) Ed Croson doesn't let you relax. I like it that way. My goal is to get bigger and faster this off season. I have been working out hard in the weight room and eating. I continue to work on my reads and decision making.”
Stevens developed a flair for getting the ball out quickly, as he would immediately locate an open target or one-on-one situation in less than three seconds, then fire away. He learned the importance of getting the ball out quickly while going against a fast and energetic Gardena (Calif.) Serra team on Sept. 23.
“I really noticed the caliber of the great players I was playing against when I got in the Serra game,” Stevens said. “I threw a quick slant, but the outside linebacker came from the other side and got a hand on it and tipped it way. He was so fast, so I learned from that play and got the ball out even quicker the next time. I took that experience to the next game and continued to improve my game, so when it came time for Long Beach Poly (in the postseason) I was able to start the game calm, cool and collected.”
Those three traits led to a breakout night for Stevens in his first start against the Jackrabbits in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. He finished the game 16-of-21 passing for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the 50-14 rout on Nov. 11, solidifying a trip to the second round for the Eagles.
Stevens says that on and off the field, he’s not one to settle for just being average.
“I am a perfectionist,” Stevens said. “I plan and practice every day to not make mistakes. I use visualization to get my mind focused and ready before each game. When I step on the field, I accept full responsibility for the execution of the offense. If the offense fails, I have failed. I’ve learned at an early age to read defenses and to take what the defense gives me.”
He absorbs his most advice from his father, former Bakersfield (Calif.) football player and CEO of the California Resources Corporation, Todd Stevens.
“My dad taught me that life is about competition," Ryan Stevens said. "When you are given an opportunity to compete, make the most of it. If you fail, you learn from it. This advice was perfect for this last football season. Even though I wasn't given the start in the beginning, I continued to prepare for any opportunity I got.”
Ryan Stevens hasn’t received his first scholarship offer yet, but tells Scout that USC, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin, UCLA, Washington State and Vanderbilt have shown interest through letters of visits during the NCAA spring evaluation period. He also visited the Ivy League campuses Princeton, Penn, Yale and Columbia last summer.
The goal-oriented Stevens has academic and quarterback ambitions to fulfill. But the ultimate prize? Bring a section and state championship back to the San Fernando Valley private school – a first for the Eagles since 2013.
“It would be incredible. It would be the ultimate team accomplishment. We are up for the challenge,” Stevens said.