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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Ryan Ehrets, C, Union College

Ryan Ehrets Union College
Ryan Ehrets the starting center of Union College recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams. Check it out.
  • Name: Ryan Ehrets
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 270 lbs
  • Position: Center
  • College: Union College
  • Twitter: @Ehrets70

Tell us about your university/college. What was your major/minor? How is campus life?

Union is a small liberal arts school in Schenectady, New York with an emphasis in the sciences. Since it is a strictly undergraduate school, there are many opportunities for research among students. I am a Mechanical Engineering major and a Mathematics minor. Campus provides a busy atmosphere during the weeks as the academic schedule is challenging despite only taking three or four classes at a time (Union follows a trimester system). Weekends are usually spent at sporting events or at other events on campus or in the local community.

How did you end up at Union College?

Although I grew up only two hours west of Union, I only heard about the school after one of the coaches visited me at my high school. It was then when I started researching what Union was and I ended up taking an official visit in January of my senior year. I felt like I fit right in from the moment I walked on campus. The tight-knit community that the school and the team offered made me comfortable and Coach Behrman and his staff were as unique of a group as I had seen. I committed to Union less than a month later.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

They would say my knowledge of the game is my best quality. As a center in our scheme, I regularly make decisions on blocking schemes and relay the messages to other players.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I’ve been playing center since 8th grade and think that is the best position for me. I have been a starter for 4 years at Union. Zone schemes play to my strengths as I can play fast and physical without hesitation. I also have the quickness and mobility to block defenders in space on screens and outside runs. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Felix Fonmedig from Salisbury University was a big, strong player with athleticism to match his strength. At Union though, I compete against one of the best defensive fronts in the country everyday at practice. Dan Gioioso is a player that falls into this category.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

Fellow offensive lineman and LT Tim Driscoll impresses me. Even though he remains the lightest member of our line in terms of weight, his technique and power make him a top-level tackle and I am confident in his ability to block anyone without any additional help.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

The current situation with the COVID-19 virus has been a struggle in its own way. Normally during this time, I’m still on campus lifting and practicing with the team and continuing to take classes. The online classes and not having access to a training facility have made this time difficult, but I’ve found a way to be able to succeed academically and athletically through some adjustments to my schedule.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

In the winter and spring, I’m a member of the Union Track and Field team as a thrower (primarily throwing the shot put – Personal Best of 44’3”), but I’ve always loved playing basketball and continue to play with friends at school when I get the chance.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

In the first round of the NCAA playoffs during my Junior season, we found ourselves down at halftime 21-3 to a strong Case Western Reserve team at home. Despite this deficit, the team went into the locker room with a positive attitude, made our adjustments, and fought back to win and advance to the next round. This comeback was a big achievement for myself as well as the team as it showed our ability to deal with adversity as a unit and support one another in such a big moment. An individual achievement that was meaningful was being voted Offensive Rookie of the Year by my teammates in 2017.

Check out other 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interviews

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

I’ll never forget the run that sealed the win against Ithaca and the Liberty League Championship my Junior season. We ran counter to the right and while my block was nothing spectacular, our running back hit the hole and found a seam for almost 50 yards to put us up ten with two minutes left. 

What have you been working on in the off-season?

This off-season has been unique considering the circumstances. I’ve spent a lot of time developing more power through explosive lifts and movements. Not having access to a weight room has provided me the opportunity to train more single-leg movements and work on explosiveness through jumping. An area I’ve focused on in terms of football skill is maintaining the integrity of my pass set throughout the duration of a play. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

Although I’m not a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, one of my favorite players to watch is Jason Kelce. He climbs to the second level and makes plays in open space using his athleticism and intelligently redirects in pass protection to pick up interior pressures. I believe his performance in Super Bowl LII was deserving of the MVP award.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

My favorite music group right now is The Revivalists. Right before a game, I listen to some modern rock/metal, most notably Avenged Sevenfold.

What is your favorite comfort food?

I’m a big barbeque guy. Put some brisket or ribs in front me and it won’t last long. Also, a hometown favorite is a chicken spiedie sub from Spiedie and Rib Pit. 

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?

Inception and The Dark Knight are my top two movies.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

I recently started writing about football for a sports blog with some friends from school. This provides me the opportunity to watch more game film on some of the best athletes at my position as well. I also enjoy going golfing with my family.

Why do you play football?

I love playing football for the cerebral aspect of the game. There are many intricate layers to every play that the casual fan doesn’t see. Breaking down a defense prior to the snap and determining what blitz is coming or what coverage we will see allows me to make adjustments on the fly and provide my teammates with the best information to succeed. Beyond that though, there aren’t many things better than imposing your will on another man and driving him off his feet and onto his back, picking him up, and doing it again the next play.

Who or what motivates you the most?

I definitely am motivated internally to pursue my goals, but I also receive a lot of support from my family and teammates which helps immensely when things get tough.

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