IN THE HUDDLE: Ryan Khawly

When you talk about football players, bred in Miami-Dade County, you are often dealing with athletes who are nationally-rated because of what they do on the football field. This area also produces outstanding football players who leave a mark in the classroom as well.

During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similiar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Ryan Khawly
POSITION: OLB/DE
HEIGHT: 6-0
WEIGHT: 205
HEAD COACH: Don Drinkhahn.
SCHOOL: South Dade (Homestead).
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: 170

I have known Coach Drinkhahn for just about as long as I have been covering recruiting in this state (34 years), and in that time, he has told me about certain athletes his program had that would be a something special.

Obviously an Antrel Rolle doesn't come along too often, but a player like Khawly, who blends leadership, skill level, grades in the classroom and athletic ability are also rare at the high school level.

In a game last season, Khawly made 12 tackles, registered two sacks and came up with a fumble recovery that kept his team undefeated. Ryan did all this from an outside linebacker/defensive end position.

"There are many outstanding athletes in Miami-Dade County, one opposing assistant coach said. "But that No. 55 for South Dade is someone who can play this game at a high level. He never quits or takes a down off."

While major colleges haven't been beating down his door for scholarship offers, Khawly is on the radar screen with schools such as Maryland, Central Florida, Boston College and Kansas State.

Because of his 3.33 grade point average and 900 SAT result, other schools have also noticed with the possibility of bringing this versatile athlete in as a long snapper as well as giving him a shot to play defense.

"We moved Ryan up to the varsity level as a sophomore because of his ability to play this game," said Drinkhahn. "I think that colleges will be very surprised at what he can do on the football field and help a team win from many aspects."

POSITIVES: Seeing him once in a game, once at a camp setting and twice on film, I agree with Coach Drinkhahn and the other coaches who took the time to evaluate his play.

This is a gifted football player, who has tremendous vision of the field, uses his good (4.7) speed to get to plays and is the perfect outside player who sometimes drops a hand down to play on the end. His motor never stops, often following up plays after they go away from his side.

The thing that really stands out about his overall play, especially live, is the nature in which plays the game. There is a no-nonsense approach that takes over from the sideline to the playing field. He is also stronger (275 bench) and more athletic (baseball and soccer past) than most think.

NEEDS TO WORK ON: Playing off blocks from pulling linemen, tight ends and even running backs on blitzes always concerns me about any football player. Spending time on that phase of the game enhances your package as an all-around football player in a major way.

I believe that if Ryan is going to continue elevating his game, he also has to work on pass coverage. Even on the outside, at the next level, offensive coordinators will often send a speedy back out of the backfield or filter a tight end to the outside as well as over the middle. Pass coverage at the next level is vital.

IN CONCLUSION I like Ryan Khawly because of his commitment to the game. While there are many linebackers who I have watched who are better football players and have more athletic ability, this is a young man who has found a way to enhance his overall football experience. From hard work in the weightroom to watching extra film to making sure that grades are a priority, he has come out as a winner as peers, opposing coaches and colleges are watching!

If you have film (VHS/DVD) or a color photo of a player and you want us to get him aboard in our INSIDE THE HUDDLE series, simply e-mail us at FloridaKids1@hotmail.com or forward to Florida Kids, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.


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