As Ryan Sanborn will tell you Francis Parker High School has a special thing for special teams.
“We have Matt Wile in the NFL, Zach Schmid at Harvard, Drew Schmid at Columbia,” said Sanborn. “Just being able to live up to what they’ve already set for our program has been really incredible.”
He’s lived up to it, and then some. Sanborn was named the punter for the West Team at the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a game that features the top 100 senior high school football players in the nation. Only two of those spots go to punters, and that makes this honor just a little more special.
“It does a little bit,” said Sanborn. “I mean I would love to be a quarterback at the game. Unfortunately I don’t have the talent for it but I’m just really excited to go there and showcase my talents.”
Ryan is not wrong often, as his 4.1 GPA suggests. But he might be off on this one. He plays quarterback, strong safety, punter, and kicker for the Lancers.
“That’s my favorite thing about Ryan is his competitiveness,” said Lancers head coach Matt Morrison. “He’s an unbelievable athlete. If he never kicked or punted a football he’s an all-county level player as a quarterback and as a strong safety. He loves being there for his team.”
Ryan averages more than 40 yards a punt and is ranked as the #3 high school punter in the country. He loves the position now but started playing it almost on accident.
“It all started when I was playing soccer and I first came out to play football. The very first day we had kicking tryouts and I was one of the only kids who could hit it over, like, 30 yards so once that started I just kind of stuck with it for a long time. I’ve been playing it since I was seven and kicking all the way.”
He kicked himself all the way to Stanford on a scholarship and the Cardinal might be getting themselves a kicker, too. In practice Sanborn has connected on a 70-yard field goal.
Since 2000 the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has produced 380 NFL Draft picks. So it’s natural for Sanborn to think he might be getting paid to punt someday.
“Obviously that would be incredible but my main focus is college, getting into a good school at Stanford. I know that’s going to take me far in life.”
Good luck, Ryan, although with a positive outlook like that I don’t think you’re going to need it.