Photo via Rick Castillo,


Let’s put it plain and simple, you’re going to want to watch Denton Ryan this upcoming season. Ryan will be toting what could be one of the most prolific offenses in the state across the board this upcoming season. The Raiders have the potential to claim the state title this year after coming up just one quarter of football shy of making a state title game appearance after losing to eventual state champion Highland Park 31-24 in what was a classic playoff battle back in December 2016.

If not for an injury to quarterback Spencer Sanders in that game, then the history books could have easily had Denton Ryan claiming supremacy in the Class 5A DI bracket.

What ifs aside, 2017 is shaping to be the year of Denton Ryan as the amount of talent Ryan holsters this year is looking to be a phenomenal group of athletes that puts Ryan in the elite category of Texas High School Football.

Defensively though, Ryan has quite the amount of ground to make up with most of their defensive starters from last year’s 14-1 team now gone. There will be many new faces on that side of the ball with Ryan’s defense being as potent and celebrated as much as their offense.

But Ryan is one of those programs where the pieces tend to fall as they should and they are able to churn out players that produce a winning product that has become familiar with the Denton Ryan program.

Key Departures

DL Dayton LeBlanc, RB/LB Tyreke Davis, DL Earnest Brown, LB Toby Burch, DB Delano Robinson

Those are just a slew of names that will be leaving the defensive side of the ball for Ryan. To put this in perspective, there were six seniors on that team that garnered First-Team All-District honors for the Raiders, including Defensive MVP Earnest Brown.

Dayton LeBlanc was set to be the leader of the defense heading into his senior season after posting 77 tackles, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and two fumble returns for touchdowns.

LeBlanc’s dad was hired to join the football staff at Kentucky and understandably so, LeBlanc will be moving with his father.

Let’s not forget the two-way star Tyreke Davis who played as linebacker and was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 1,055 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns which gave him a share in the District MVP award with teammate Spencer Sanders.

Key Returners

QB Spencer Sanders, WR Gabriel Douglas, WR Chritauskie Dove, DB Jordan Rucker

Ryan will have a premiere offense with arguably the best quarterback and wide receiver tandem in the state.

Sanders was absolutely unbelievable last year after throwing for 3,258 yards and 38 touchdowns as well as rushing for 1,099 yards and 18 touchdowns. Sanders will also have two of the best wide receivers in the state at his disposal with Douglas and Dove. The duo combined for 2,463 receiving yards and 33 touchdown receptions.

Jordan Rucker will be returning and is sure to play a big part in helping the new faces adjust on the defensive side of the ball.

The Verdict

Denton Ryan would be a smart and safe choice if you were to discuss early state title favorites despite the heavy hits to the defense. It should not be too big a concern though as Ryan has an excellent staff that ensures the success of the program. Ryan will have some major shuffling to do but that should be no problem as Ryan begins their march to playing late in December.


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