HOUSTON (BVM) – After spending a year at quarterback, Ryan Niblett returned back to his primary position at wide receiver for his junior campaign. The season away from the spot wouldn’t slow down the Eisenhower High School star who enjoyed a historic campaign in his return outside.
“He probably had one of the best years on the offensive side of the ball in a long time for Eisenhower,” Eagles’ head coach Eric Jackson said.
Following his freshman season at wideout, the Eagles were in search of the team’s missing piece at quarterback. Showing promise as a playmaker in his opening year, the Eagles’ head coach believed Niblett was smart enough to take command of the offense. With the keys to the group, Niblett would impress in his first varsity season, passing for 1,137 yards, rushing for 367 yards, while combining to score 13 touchdowns.
The shortened 2020 season had Jackson ready to continue with Niblett as the team’s signal caller in 2021, but a discussion with his coaching staff would return the Eagles’ star back to wide receiver.
“I wasn’t really keen on [wide receiver] because I always wanted to have the ball in Ryan’s hands, because I knew he could make some things happen,” Jackson said. “Eventually, [our offensive coordinator] Coach Goodwin convinced me… and I’m glad he did because it really helped him to blossom and show all his abilities, show his football skill level, his speed, and his intelligence.”
With junior Zacchaeus Henry taking over for Eisenhower at quarterback this past season, the No. 12-ranked wide receiver in the Class of 2023 would shine back at his natural position. Showcasing his elite speed, Niblett would show off his hard work from the offseason, where he would continue to impress in the weight room and on the track.
The dual-sport star has made a name for himself as a runner, flashing impressive times of 10.41 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.25 in the 200-meter. The sport is more than just a hobby for Niblett, who has been at it since a young age. With time during the spring and summer away from football, track has allowed him to grow on his already elite quickness.
“He loves track, he probably loves track more than football,” Jackson joked. “… Track has a lot to do with his success, too. They have a lot of good receivers but they don’t have too many that have his speed with his football skills and quickness.”
As a long-time runner, Niblett has been able to parlay his work on the track to the field where he’s impressed with a rare mix of athleticism and football ability. His play has not only brought on the attention of rival high school coaches, but recruiters around the country. With a handful of college scholarship offers in-hand, Niblett decided to stay in-state, committing to Texas back in April.
“The entire recruiting process has been a journey,” Niblett shared on social media. “I’m extremely thankful to have been given multiple opportunities to play the game that I love at the next level. I’d like to thank every coach who sat down and assessed my talent and hard work… With all that being said, I’m beyond blessed to announce my commitment to the University of Texas.”
As Niblett prepares to team up with No. 1-ranked high school quarterback, Arch Manning, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide receiver will also join a growing list of recent Longhorn commits. Texas currently ranks in the top five of recruiting classes for the Class of 2023 and has locked down 17 hard commits.
— ryan niblett (@ryan_niblett) June 22, 2022
With a lot to look forward to with the season around the corner, Niblett’s high school coach previewed just what the Eisenhower star is going to bring to Austin.
“He can run, he’s got great quickness, [and] he’s got great football skills,” Jackson said. “A lot of times you might have a kid that can run fast who’s a sprinter but he’s not quick with lateral movements. Or, you might have a kid that has good lateral movements but he doesn’t have straight away speed. He has both. He has good feet, he can get into a full stride in one second, great ball skills, he can jump, he can carry the football. He’s just a good athlete. Smart athlete at that.”
Niblett will have a lot of supporters watching from back home when he suits up following his senior year. As the team looks to build off its 2021 season, Niblett is hoping to be the engine behind the Eagles’ upcoming campaign before heading off to the next level.
“Texas is getting a good one and I’m proud of him,” Jackson said. “The community is proud of him, the students are proud of him and the staff is proud of him… not only is he a good athlete and a good football player, he’s also a good person.”