Ryan Ralston wants the ball in his hands, regardless of what season it is.
“I like being in control of the game,” the Blue Valley (KS) West three-sport star said, clenching his fist. “When you are playing quarterback, you can see the whole field. The ball is in your hands, and you make the decisions. I like that aspect of it.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior was a force in 2012, leading the Jaguars to the Kansas Class 5A Quarterfinals. He completed nearly 58% of his passes for 1,730 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 973 yards and a staggering 24 TDs on the ground. With over 2,700 yards of total offense, Ralston earned Honorable Mention All-State and Second Team All-Eastern Kansas League honors.
“I’ve always loved just making plays, not even thinking about it,” he said with a smile. “Rolling out, seeing a guy deep, and just throwing it. I love running the ball, too. Run it up the middle, and give the linebacker a little shot.”
“I know it’s not good for my health, but I love it.”
Despite his penchant for running the ball, Ralston knows that his passing arm is what separates him.
“I guess you could say dual-threat, but I don’t have the best speed. I can throw the ball pretty far, but I need to work on reading the receiver and running the offense.”
Ralston is also a varsity basketball player at West, and a standout on the diamond. A pitcher and third baseman, many project he will be selected next year in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Even if that happens, the lure of continuing to play quarterback may be too much.
“When you are talking about all those fans out there,” he paused, shaking his head. “The ball is in your hands. Everybody is screaming. It would be so hard to pass up.”
“I’ve always played baseball year-round, and football is just in the fall. I’d like to see how far I could go with it. If it came down to it, it would be hard to say no to football.”
As he gears up for a summer full of baseball tournaments, Ralston plans to hit the camp circuit to showcase his ability as a passer as well.
“I’m trying to get to a K-State camp,” he said. “I’m visiting Louisville for baseball. They are recruiting me for baseball, but a month ago, I got a letter asking me to come to their QB camp, too.”
“I am going to try to go to the Mizzou one-day camp. I pretty much have no time, baseball is taking up all of my summer.”