Athlete Spotlight: Cory Ryder ‘17 - Nantucket (MA) Football
by Ryan Kilian (@masspreps)
As Labor Day weekend approaches and the summer season comes to an end, Nantucket Island will lose their seasonal population and the start of the fall school year will begin.
With the start of the school year upon us, the Nantucket High School Whalers football team has already taken the field in preparation for another season of Whaler football.
Nantucket will be led by senior offensive lineman and returning Captain Cory Ryder ’17. Ryder will anchor the offensive line for the back-to-back Mayflower League Small champions, who have lofty expectations in addition to their considerable talent.
The 6-foot-4, 290 pound Ryder combines size and athleticism with intelligence and Football IQ on the gridiron. Adding an equally impressive work ethic in the classroom to his resume, Ryder recently parlayed his pedigree into a full scholarship commitment to the University of Holy Cross next fall.
Holy Cross: Ryder, who committed to Holy Cross earlier this month, was drawn to the Crusaders program for numerous reasons
“The deciding factor to me was that I would not be leaving anything on the table by choosing Holy Cross,” Ryder explained. “Holy Cross is a top notch education, with outstanding Division 1 football. That was exactly what I was looking for. The full scholarship made this opportunity one that I could not pass up. The people at Holy Cross were another reason why I chose to be a Crusader. The coaching staff, players and the rest of the campus population were people that I want to be around. The close knit community that Holy Cross embodies is something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Recruiting the Student-Athlete: Being from Nantucket has many positive characteristics, but the island can also present it's share of challenges when it comes to a prospective college athlete.
“What really makes Cory special is his work ethic,” Nantucket Head Coach and Cory’s father, Brian Ryder said. “Through hard work he has turned an average athletic body into a D1 caliber player with a very good combination of athleticism and size. What makes him especially unique is coming from the island of Nantucket. Nantucket is a place with limited exposure. Cory traveled all over the Northeast visiting schools and attending camps the last couple years to gain exposure. This year from June 3rd until July 6th, he attended 15 days of camp at 12 different schools in North Carolina, VA, NJ, NY, PA, and all over New England.”
Ryder also attended and excelled at the Prestigious Nike “The Opening" camp in Washington, DC this summer.
Academics have certainly helped Ryder in the recruiting process. He had collected over 10 FCS offers and a potential opportunity to walk on to Notre Dame before committing to Holy Cross.
“My firm belief is that academics are by far the most important intangible that an athlete can have,” Cory said. “If you put 100 schools on the table, with my 3.98 GPA and 1230 two part SAT, I could access 98 out of the 100 schools as a football recruit. However, if you took an athlete with a 3.0 GPA and a 900 SAT, they would be able to access less than half of the 100 schools. I am confident in saying that if I did not have my academics where they are at today, I would not have over half of my offers.”
Another important factor was Ryder’s perseverance and work ethic early in the process.
“In the whole recruiting process, the key was starting early,” Ryder said. “Making unofficial visits to schools as early as the end of my sophomore year was also key to my recruiting.”
"My father/coach was the key factor who helped me with recruiting,” Cory said. “He played Division 1 football at Tulane and was familiar with the process. He took time out of his life every day, not only to promote me to schools through emails, phone calls and school visits, but to teach me the work ethic and commitment required to be a D1 athlete. I firmly believe that my father played the most important role in my recruiting and I am grateful to him.”
Personal: Ryder is a returning team Captain, as he was also elected as a junior. Ryder won the Most Outstanding Lineman award in 2015, was voted Most Dedicated in 2015 and was also named a League All-Star 2015 and All District last season. Ryder is not only a vital cog on the Whaler’s offensive line, but he is also an established long snapper, ranking ninth in the country in the Class of 2017.
Ryder, an avid gym rat, enjoys his time working out and training. He also enjoys working on his car, fishing, boating and hanging out on the beach.
“Living on Nantucket is unique to say the least,” Ryder said. “I strongly believe that I would not be the player I am today if I was not raised here. The tradition is strong and Nantucket football is important to the town. Living in a place with no stop lights, chain stores or highways can seem foreign to most, but I was born and raised here and know it no other way.”
“The best advice I would give to any aspiring player is to work as hard in the classroom as they do on the field. If you get your academics right, then there is nothing holding back your athletic potential.” – Cory Ryder
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