QB recruit Ryan Boyle eager for football immersion as life at Iowa begins

Chad Leistikow
Iowa recruit Ryan Boyle poses inside the Dowling weight room in late January. He’ll immediately become one of the strongest quarterbacks in Hawkeye history.

Ryan Boyle's college career officially begins Monday, when he'll move into Currier Hall in Iowa City — just three days after completing his last high school class.

If he could've taken on-campus residence earlier, he would've. To say the decorated athlete from Dowling Catholic is eager to become an Iowa football player is an understatement. Just about every other sentence in an interview last week included some form of the word "excited."

"When I got the scholarship," Boyle said, "I wanted to get up there as soon as I could."

Though his dormitory hall might be empty at first, as he waits for roommate Jack Hockaday to arrive, Boyle won't be bored. He's ready to ask more questions about the playbook he received from offensive coordinator Greg Davis upon signing in February.

Though he'll be taking two summer classes — core work — to kick off his academic career as a Sports Management major, he's most eager to enlist in the school of Chris Doyle, Iowa's strength and conditioning coach.

"Since my knee injury my sophomore year (torn ligament), I kind of became obsessed with the idea of working out," Boyle said, "and (to) perfect my body to not have any disadvantages at all."

Boyle is a physical specimen for a quarterback, at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. He set Dowling's bench-press record at 360 pounds and says that number is now up to 390, which would crush the current Hawkeye quarterback weight-room record held by Jake Christensen (325).

That power was on display at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, where Boyle lowered the boom on a defensive tackle to help spring a broken running play — something he later heard about from Iowa's coaches.

"They said just watch what you do," Boyle said. "It was just kind of out of impulse. I think we got a first down out of that. I threw my throwing shoulder at this guy and knocked him down."

Boyle won't be permitted to conduct media interviews once he steps on Iowa's campus, a long-standing rule head coach Kirk Ferentz has for true freshmen. Ferentz has said he would like Boyle and fellow quarterback recruit Drew Cook of Iowa City Regina to redshirt, although that luxury might not exist with untested freshman Tyler Wiegers the only scholarship backup to junior starter C.J. Beathard.

Boyle is ready to compete for immediate playing time. He is a fan of Beathard, who dates one of his sister's sorority friends at Iowa.

"He's a first-class gentleman," Boyle said. "He's a humble dude and he's a hard-worker, and I just can't wait to be a teammate of his."

On top of his physical skill set, Boyle is widely regarded as an infectious influence who makes his teammates better. He's been in touch with three incoming receiver recruits, Adrian Falconer, Emmanuel Ogwo and Jerminic Smith. "Those guys have a lot of potential," he said.

He also doesn't fit Iowa's traditional pro-style quarterback template. He loves to gain yardage with his legs. Boyle rushed for as many touchdowns (45) as he passed for at Dowling. He totaled 7,609 yards of offense in a career that included back-to-back Class 4-A championships.

Boyle compares his skill set to former Hawkeyes Brad Banks and Drew Tate. Good choices, since that duo is responsible for Iowa's two most recent Big Ten Conference championships (2002, 2004).

"They used their legs when they had to, to make plays and extend it," he said.

Boyle will wear jersey No. 11 at Iowa, shedding the 10 he made famous at Dowling. He calls the journey that's set to begin a "job," one he's dreamed living since childhood.

"Growing up, you always see the Hawkeyes, and I kind of looked at them as gods with what they were doing," Boyle said. "It was just a dream and a goal of mine. Now that I'm going to be there, I'm going to make the best of it and take advantage of it."