CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- Ryan Sanders always knew he wanted to study engineeering in college and, if possible, continue playing football.
The recent John Jay High School graduate focused on colleges with excellent engineering programs and when it came time to make his decision, the all-section two-way lineman chose Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.
“I wanted a very good academic school and also be able to play good football,” said the 6-foot-4, 2740-pound Sanders, who plans on majoring in civil engineering. “Lafayette has an excellent engineering program.”
Along with Lafayette, which plays in the Patriot League, Sanders was also considering Bucknell, Ithaca and Muhlenberg.
Sanders, who was instrumental in helping lead John Jay to the 2011 Section 1 Class AA football championship game, said engineering has been his focus the past few years. Sanders said along with taking architecture his four years at John Jay, he has also worked in construction. Combine the two aspects and Sanders said he can see a future in designing buildings.
Sanders has already received a feel of what to expect playing football at Lafayette. He spent two weeks earlier in July going through workouts. Lafayette coach Frank Tavani told Sanders he will be playing defensive end in the team’s 4-3 set. This is fine with Sanders, who also played tackle on offense for John Jay.
“I was very happy when he told me I would be playing defense,” Sanders said. “I like playing defense, especially the aggressiveness of goig after somebody. I felt that if I went to the offensive side of the ball, I would have had to gain a lot of weight, quickly.”
Even though Sanders played defensive tackle at John Jay, he is prepared for the move to defensive end, crediting John Jay defensive coordinator Joe Mammoser and defensive line coach Bill Pickell for this. Pickell played 12 seasons in the National Football League for the Raiders and Jets.
Sanders returns to Lafayette in August as preseason begins Aug. 8.
“I have set up my life with college,” Sanders said. “I am going to receive a great education and I get to play football. It’s exciting and I am ready to get going.”