The night before Ryan and the rest of the 2017 Stanford Cardinal team was due to fly out to play in the Alamo Bowl, Ryan was packing at his home in Fresno, Calif. when he received a phone call from Stanford Hospital. A pathology report had come back about a lump under the linebacker’s armpit and a biopsy revealed he had tested positive for a rare form of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma called “ALK-positive.”

Scared and uncertain about his future, Ryan stayed home and sought an immediate diagnosis for what turned out to be a treatable form of lymphoma. Ryan underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, lost his hair and considerable weight off his 6-1, 230-pound frame. Ryan was unsure about his football future and missed spring practice and two quarters of school. He never complained.

Ryan was cleared to participate in fall camp in the summer of 2018 and didn’t miss a beat. He played in all 13 games on special teams that season and in 2019 went on to make his first collegiate start against Colorado. Ryan’s determination to return to his team and to stay active by attending classes was inspirational for others.