Ryan Kish did not start his college football career at Baldwin-Wallace College, but that is where he will finish it during the 2010 season.
Kish, an Amherst High product and senior middle linebacker for the Yellow Jackets, originally went to Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, but transferred to B-W after a red-shirt season with the Cardinals.
“It just really wasn’t a good fit for me both academically and football-wise,” said Kish. “Really, the only place I looked into transferring to was B-W. It was one of my final decisions coming out of high school and I knew I just wanted to come here.
“I met Coach (John) Snell through the recruiting process coming out of high school and I liked him a lot. He was a good guy when I visited the campus and everything. It was pretty close to home and with the tradition of football at B-W, I just wanted to come here and play.”
In the end, transferring to B-W was a good thing for all parties concerned.
The Yellow Jackets opened the 2010 season with a resounding 38-14 home win over The College of Wooster last Thursday night. Kish had a team-leading nine tackles, one for a loss, and a pass break defensed.
“He’s worked extremely hard at developing himself and has worked very hard in being a leader for our program,” said Snell. “He brings a lot to our defense. He’s experienced, been playing since his freshman year or first year here. Somebody that’s as intense as he is, who loves the game the way he does and has the experience he has is a huge plus for us.
“He got voted as a captain and you don’t get voted to be a captain unless you’ve shown some great leadership and he’s done that. He’s a guy that has been very valuable to our program. The kids look up to him. They respect him and you don’t get voted a captain unless the players have great respect for you. He’s got their respect.”
With the first win under their belts, the Yellow Jackets will begin Ohio Athletic Conference play against Capital on Saturday night. Having that confidence will help as they prepare to take on highly-regarded teams such as Capital, Mount Union, Otterbein and Ohio Northern.
Kish is looking forward to the challenges that await and plans on displaying his talents.
“It’s probably the toughest conference in all of Division III,” he said. “We can’t take any opponent lightly and have to come ready to play every week. Anyone can beat anyone. There’s a lot of speed in this conference and you’ve got to come with your ‘A’ game every week, if you want to win.
“My ultimate personal goal would be to be an All-American. That’s the greatest honor you can get. It’s my last year playing football and that’d be a great way to go out. I feel like I’ve worked hard enough and can do it. Now, I have to go out on the field and prove it.”
Three years ago, Kish made quite an impact against Heidelberg. Though the Yellow Jackets lost, 42-20, Kish registered 16 total tackles, combined on a tackle for loss and had an interception.
He was named the OAC’s defensive player of the week for his efforts.
“It was pretty exciting, besides the fact that we lost that game,” said Kish. “My coaches believed in me and I just went out and proved I could start as a freshman in this conference and had a pretty good game.”
While making plays for the Yellow Jackets’ defense has been fun, it has not always been easy. Kish has had to battle through some foot and shoulder injuries that cost him playing time and forced him to watch several games from the sideline.
“It was tough. That was really the first time in my career where I was injured,” he said. “I missed like five games. It’s tough watching your teammates go out there and play. You support them, but it’s tough not playing and not being able to do anything about it and help out your team.”
Heading into his junior season, Kish was focused on staying healthy and playing well.
After playing in all 10 games, Kish registered 90 total tackles, four for losses and one pass defensed. He was named second-team All-OAC for his efforts.
More importantly to Kish than getting postseason recognition was the realization of how fortunate he was to return to the field.
“I had taken it for granted, just playing every day, but after that, I cherished every day of practice,” Kish said.
News and notes
Baldwin-Wallace junior running back John McGraw (North Ridgeville) is one of three backs who will split carries for the Yellow Jackets this fall. McGraw led the team with nine rushing touchdowns in addition to gaining 486 yards in 2009. In the opening win against Wooster, McGraw had 13 carries for 72 yards, including a 32-yarder.
- Sophomore quarterback Ryan O’Rourke (Avon) transferred to B-W after starting two games at NCAA Division II Slippery Rock in 2009. In his debut with the Yellow Jackets, O’Rourke completed 9-of-13 passes for 154 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
- Though he did not catch a pass in the Rockets’ 41-2 loss to Arizona last Friday, Toledo junior Danny Noble (Elyria) did make the start at tight end. Noble started 10 games for the Rockets last year and had a career-high five receptions against the University of Colorado and Ohio State. Noble’s lone career touchdown was an eight-yard reception against Colorado.
- Two weeks ago, the Notre Dame College football team played its first varsity game against Mercyhurst. Though it was a 23-0 loss to the Lakers, Notre Dame had several local athletes take the field. Freshman Jared Schuster (Elyria/Elyria Catholic) joined sophomores Kam Abed (Westlake) and Logan Wright (Vermilion) on the starting offensive line.
Sophomore defensive back Mike Virgin (Vermilion) helped the Tiffin Dragons earn a 31-21 win over Malone University last Saturday. Virgin intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 84 yards for a touchdown. He also registered a team-leading nine total tackles, with six solo efforts and one for a loss. As a freshman in 2009, Virgin totaled 22 tackles, including 15 solo stops. He had one tackle for loss, an interception, one pass defensed and a fumble recovery.
- Sophomore Shane Friend (LaGrange/North Ridgeville) was a reserve linebacker who tallied five total tackles and one for a loss. Friend added three more stops in the team’s 14-10 win at Lindsey Wilson. Second-year quarterback Cody Schuster (Elyria/Elyria Catholic) transferred to Notre Dame from Otterbein College and had a 3-yard rush in the opener.
- Mercyhurst sophomore tight end Ryan Bartizal (Amherst) and red-shirt freshman offensive lineman Joe Coyne (Avon Lake) played in the team’s opener at Notre Dame. Bartizal made the start at tight end and caught an 18-yard pass, while Coyne played in a reserve role.
- Courtney Jarvis (Amherst), a junior outside hitter for The University of Akron volleyball team, has helped the Zips to a 3-3 record after last weekend’s Jayhawk Classic in Lawrence, Kansas. The Zips open their home schedule with the Akron Invitational on Friday against Appalachian State. Jarvis leads the Zips with 58 kills, an average of 3.22 kills-per-set. She also carries a .168 hitting percentage and leads the team with 63.0 points scored.
Contact Matt Florjancic at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.