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2018 Graduate looks at NFL

Ryan Glover l Digital Editor


All kids dream of playing sports in the pros one day, whether it is in the NFL, MLB, NHL or the MLS.


Chad Ryland, a 2018 Cedar Crest graduate, had this dream when he was a junior in high school, which is a little late compared to most kids. Usually at this point, kids have forgotten about those dreams.


When I was in middle school, I didn’t really know my future would dictate I dreamed about playing soccer, or baseball but never football,” said Ryland. “I got to junior year and all of a sudden the football team needs a kicker. I thought I was a good enough soccer player, so I gave it a try.”


Ryland spent his first four years of college football at Eastern Michigan where he had a successful career as a kicker and earned a starting spot. Then, due to COVID-19, he was allowed to play a fifth year, and he chose to transfer to University of Maryland.


“My plan was never to transfer out of Michigan,” said Ryland. “Our coach got a job offer from his hometown college (Oklahoma State) that he could not give up, so with him gone I believed it was also time for me to leave.”


Ryland finished last season at Eastern Michigan with an 86.4% field goal percentage and was a perfect 47-for-47 on extra points. This season, with a made field goal against Michigan State on Oct. 1, he tied the Big Ten record for most consecutive made field goals with 24.


“At the time I kicked number 24, I didn’t even realize I tied the record, until I saw it on the jumbotron,” said Ryland. “All of this motivated me to get better.”


Along with that, he also became the first kicker in Maryland history to make two 50-plus yard field goals in the same game when he did it against Michigan earlier this season. With Ryland making a name for himself, he may be the best college kicker.


“There are a lot of guys I respect, but, personally, I do feel I am one of if not the top guy coming out this year,” said Ryland. “Now I have to raise the expectations and allow me to continue to work hard.”


During Maryland’s by week Ryland came home to visit his family and friends. He also took the chance to spread his passion for football to different elementary schools, and even the middle school, where he talked to students who look up to him.


“I am happy to get to talk to these kids; I had older guys I looked up to as well,” said Ryland. “Becoming their role model is not something I ever shot to be or thought I would be.”


This past weekend Maryland played against Penn State, and, for Ryland, this is like a hometown game for him. All his friends and family are going to attend the game, and Ryland is ready.


“I’m fired up,” said Ryland. “I went to a few games at Beaver stadium growing up, which is an electric atmosphere on its own, and then getting to play there against a bunch of fans, family, and friends is going to be cool.”


After the season wraps up, the next step for Chad could be the NFL. As of right now, he has plans to try and get drafted by any team. He does not have a particular team in mind but would enjoy going somewhere warm.

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