Today BC Bulletin jumps back in to our "Boston College Quarter Century Team" to select the quarterback. Last week we had our hardest decision, selecting only five offensive linemen for a program that has had over a dozen well recognized players. This selection, the quarterback, was the easiest. Our selection is one of the great players Boston College has ever produced, quarterback Matt Ryan.
Matt Ryan | 2003-2007
It was a quiet beginning for a man who would go down as a legend in Chestnut Hill. Only ranked a three star, Ryan chose to head to Boston College over offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue, Georgia Tech and only a handful of others. Once at BC he redshirted his first season, before he saw game action his redshirt freshman year.
In 2004 after some mop up duty to start the year, he was thrown into the starting role after an injury to starting quarterback Paul Peterson against Temple. His first start was a huge game, against Syracuse, a win would send BC to their first ever BCS Bowl. Unfortunately it was not to be, as Ryan looked green completing 24 of 51 passes for 200 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions.
During his sophomore year Ryan took the starting job from Quinton Porter, but was still not close to the quarterback he would become. He finished the year starting ten games but only threw for 1,514 yards and eight touchdowns. But glimpses of what he would becomes came during bowl season. Ryan ended the 2005 season on a positive note, beating Boise State in the MPC Computers Bowl in which the young quarterback threw three touchdown passes on way to earning game MVP honors.
In 2006, the legend of Matt Ryan started to take form. The once inexperienced quarterback was now starting to look like he was ready to take BC to the next level with better judgement and better throws. He threw for an ACC leading 2,942 yards along 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Ryan had two big wins for the Eagles, including two double overtime wins, against Clemson and Brigham Young. He won multiple ACC Player of the Week Awards, and set the school record for completions in a game, with 40 against Wake Forest.
Ryan's path at BC changed drastically when head coach Tom O'Brien left Boston College after the 2006 season, and was replaced with Jeff Jagodzinski. The combination of the new coach and his offensive coordinator Steve Logan took Matt Ryan to a whole new level in 2007. Against Georgia Tech, who had an excellent defense, Ryan threw for over 400 yards for a win against the ranked Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Then on a cold dreary evening against Virginia Tech the legend of "Matty Ice" was born. With seconds remaining on the clock, he found Andre Callendar in the end zone to beat the Top 10 Hokies in Blacksburg. It was a huge comeback, led by Ryan that put the Eagles in the national spotlight. Boston College was ranked second in the country after that game, and Ryan's stock went through the roof.
Ryan had one more big game in him at BC, beating ranked Clemson in Death Valley on a late fourth quarter TD to Richie Gunnell that secured a trip to the ACC Championship game. Though they lost the big game to Virginia Tech, Ryan won his final game, a victory over Michigan Still in the Champs Sports Bowl. It was a monumental year that brought home the ACC Player of the Year Award, Unitas Golden Arm Award and was All American by the AFCA for Ryan.
After his legendary career Ryan has gone on to have a stellar career with the Atlanta Falcons where he was drafted third overall in 2008. During his NFL career he has won the NFL Rookie of the Year, MVP (2016) and brought the Falcons to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
Honorable Mention: Brian St. Pierre
(Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com)
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