Senior Stories: Eric Ryan

Senior Stories: Eric Ryan

"Eric has been a great role model for our younger players through his leadership by example in general, and specifically his work ethic and resiliency." – Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football 

Q: What is your concentration?

Q: What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
Once football is finished, I hope to end up in a career where I wake up excited to go to work and contribute to something meaningful. Also, if I'm lucky, I want to be able to travel and visit parts of the world I haven't seen.

Q: What is your first memory of football?
My first memory of football goes back to watching games on TV with my grandfather as a kid, and eventually joining the team as a 5th grader. The amount of extra laps and up-downs we did in those days was a feat of human strength and perseverance.  

Q: What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan?
For me, hockey games have been the coolest events to watch because the atmosphere in the rink is so different from what you see at most other sports. It's fun to go wild with your friends after crazy hits and goals, so the games can get very rowdy.

Q: What are the hardest parts of being a student-athlete at Harvard?
The hardest part of being a student-athlete at Harvard is finding the right balance of academics and athletics. When you first become a student-athlete here the days can definitely seem overwhelming, but through experience you learn that if you're disciplined with your time you can be successful in both aspects of life on campus.

Q: What's the best part about a home football day?
The best part of a home football day is the extra time we get to hang out in the locker room before the game, which gives you a good opportunity to throw some music on, relax, and really focus on what you are about to do on the field. 

Q: Who do you like lining up against in practice?
Semar Smith. He has earned a reputation as a hard-hitting running back, so when you see him lined up in the backfield you have to be dialed in and on top of your game. We put in a lot of work together during the summer offseason and now during the fall I cherish every rep I get against him.

Q: Who has the best nickname on the team and why? 
The best nickname on the team belongs to Coach Flaherty, aka Big Daddy.

Q: How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life?
Playing football at Harvard has taught me how important your attitude is towards overcoming tough situations. You can't always predict or control what kind of adversity might come your way, but you can decide what kind of attitude you will approach those challenges with.   

Q: When you leave Harvard, what do you want your legacy to be? 
After I graduate, I want to be remembered as someone who gave his all to the program and as a teammate who would do anything for one of his brothers.

Q: If you weren't playing football, you would be…
Cooling off on a beach in Southern California. My teammate Dallas Schray and I spent a week out in the SoCal area this past summer and I really connected with California's laid-back vibe and perfect weather. I could easily see myself moving out there once school is finished.

Q: What is your favorite memory on the football field? 
I have many significant memories of playing on the football field, from scoring my first touchdown for the Newington Knights in middle school to beating high school rival Wethersfield on the Thanksgiving day games. My favorite memories during my time here have been being a part of the nail-biter against Dartmouth last year and playing in the unreal atmosphere of the Harvard-Yale game.

Q: Where are your favorite places to eat in the square? 
I was definitely a big Chipotle supporter during my first three years here, but after trying out the nachos at Felipe's Taqueria this preseason I never looked back. Luke Hutton was the first to recommend them to me, so I owe him a lot for introducing me to the best meal in the square. 

Q: If you could do anything for a day without any cost considerations, what would it be?
Take the whole team to a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium to watch the GOAT.

Q: If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Tom Brady, Will Ferrell, John F. Kennedy.

Q: Best football movie of all-time? Why?
Without a doubt, the best football movie of all-time is Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton. This classic movie perfectly demonstrates the ways in which football is much more than just a game. 

Q: If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Conor McGregor, because I love his rags to riches story and the intensity he brings to his sport.