Former Richland Northeast Linebacker Ryan Quarles is now attending Gray Military Academy in West Columbia, SC. GMA is a post-secondary school for athletes who want to improve grades, athletic skills, and raise standardized test scores. I spoke with Quarles briefly about his expectations of himself, Grays, and advice to young players in high school.
Brad Washington: Was the decision to choose a prep school an easy decision instead of going to a four year college?
Ryan Quarles: Yes, sort of. The offers I had, they wasn’t [the best] you know? I didn’t really get to visit because of basketball season [last year at Richland Northeast] so with this JUCO, I have more time to select and make my decision on schools and have more visits.
BW: With this being Gray Military Academy first year in existence, do you have a lot of expectations for this team although you all are a new team?
RQ: Being new means absolutely nothing. We play full sixty minutes of football, and the plan is to go undefeated to put a national championship ring on our finger.
BW: How is training for college ball different than high school? Or is there any difference because it’s a prep school?
RQ: It’s definitely a transition. With high school it’s 12 minutes a quarter. With College it’s 15 minutes a quarter. We’re playing another quarter basically, and that’s a long time. You must be in better shape, and that’s what we train for everyday at 2:00.
BW: What’s the defense GMA runs? Is it similar or different from what you did at RNE?
RQ: It’s both. It’s similar, because when we used blitzes in high school, it kind of symbolizes who goes first. Not with college. It’s all kind of crazy stuff. But after practicing we get the hang of it
BW: Do you have a similar role here playing middle linebacker that you did at Richland Northeast?
RQ: Well yes. At Northeast I played middle. Here [at Grays] I play outside. But in 10th grade I played outside so I’m kind of use to it.
BW: You were a very accomplished player at Richland Northeast, posting back to back 100 tackle seasons. Do you expect yourself to make the same impact at Grays?
RQ: Yes, but more tackles. Definitely more tackles.
BW: Lastly, anything you would advise to any upcoming player in high school player who wants to play college ball?
RQ: Just follow your dreams; don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do it. Make sure you know what you want to do, and don’t have nobody tell you what you can’t do.
Four quick facts about Ryan:
Favorite athlete: I have two. Ray Lewis and LeBron James
Favorite musician: Young Jeezy
Favorite food: Ribs
Which person, past or present, is the most inspirational to you? My parents, definitely They trained me up right, so when I’m not with them, I try to act as I would if I were, make them proud of me at the end of the day.