This article was originally written by Ryan Young and appeared in the Iowa State Daily on September 24, 2015. It has been republished with the author’s permission.
Running back Trever Ryen has bounced around a lot.
Ryen walked on to the ISU football team, redshirting his first year with the Cyclones after running a season of track at Northern Iowa.
Since joining the team, Ryen has been all over the place, working with the punt return team, the wide receivers and recently making the transition to running back.
On Tuesday, Ryen got some more news. He was going to be given a scholarship.
“A bunch of my teammates made fun of me for the way I looked,” Ryen said. “I didn’t know what hit me. I turned all white, coach Rhoads said, and I was kind of just like ‘what is going on?’”
ISU coach Paul Rhoads kicked off his team meeting on Tuesday with the news and said that the reaction from both Ryen and the team was just as he expected.
“The team was just thrilled and excited for a former walk-on to earn a scholarship,” Rhoads said. “He was overwhelmed. … He turned white when I told him and just had an overwhelmed look on his face, which was fun to see him receive that.”
Through the first three games of the season, Ryen has been one of the more versatile weapons for the Cyclones’ offense.
He returned an 81-yard punt for a touchdown against Northern Iowa in week one, and carried the ball four times for 23 yards the next week against Iowa. Last week against Toledo, Ryen caught three passes for 27 yards and ran for 13 yards on three attempts.
But it’s not Ryen’s numbers that have impressed Rhoads the most. Instead, it has been how well he has been able to transition between positions.
“He’s surprised me in how quickly he’s transitioned as a running back,” Rhoads said. “He was sitting pretty idly at training camp. He was not getting opportunities as a receiver. Smartly, we made the move to running back with him, and he’s taken that and ran with that as well as the special team opportunities.”
Ryen is one of just three players on the current ISU football team who have gone from walk-on to scholarship status, and the 20th walk-on to do so during the Rhoads era.
Walk-ons don’t traditionally get a lot of attention on football teams, and Ryen said he’s noticed. But now, with him earning a scholarship, he said it all feels worth it.
“People kind of look at us like we’re just practice dummies,” Ryen said. “But we have to come here every day with a positive attitude and we have to grind for what we want. Everybody wants a scholarship as a walk-on. They just don’t see what we put into it.”
The Cyclones still have just one win so far this season. And after last weekend’s double overtime loss to Toledo, Rhoads said the team is just focused on moving on.
While this distraction won’t completely take away from the painful road loss, Ryen said that it could definitely help.
“I think it helps,” Ryen said. “It gets our minds off of the loss and dwelling on the loss. It gets us on this happy moment, and I think it’s just going to build up to next week to get preparation for Kansas.”