TENNERTON – Ryan Strader, Buckhannon-Upshur’s starting quarterback for the last three seasons, is going to continue his football at Glenville State after signing a letter of intent recently during a ceremony at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.
“This is a dream come true,” remarked Strader about being able to continue his football career at the collegiate level. “It’s a wonderful feeling to keep playing the sport I love. Since I was little playing football, this was something I have always wanted. I just want to keep playing football for as long as I can.”
Strader was a three-sport star at Buckhannon-Upshur as he was also a starter on the basketball team and a member of the baseball team.
Of course, Strader, like every other spring athlete was not able to finish out his athletic career on the playing fields as the COVID-19 pandemic erased the baseball season.
“I knew after baseball everything would be over with,” said Strader. “It came as a huge surprise not being able to have that final season of baseball and playing my last sport here at Buckhannon-Upshur. So looking back, being able to have that final football and basketball season means a lot to me now.”
Strader said Glenville State was the perfect fit for him to continue his athletic career.
“I was speaking with a couple of other colleges about playing football, but I took a trip to Glenville State and was able to speak to the coaching staff. They decided to bring me down for an official visit where I got to see everything, and I liked it. The facilities are top-notch, the weight room is incredible and it’s not located in the middle of a big city. I’m not a big city type of person.”
While Strader was also a cornerback for the Bucs, he said Glenville State is looking at him for the quarterback position.
“Right now, I am on the quarterback list,” noted Strader.
Glenville State is coming off a 7-4 season where they finished in sixth place in the Mountain East Conference with a 6-4 league mark.
The Pioneers are coached by Mike Kellar who is in his second season at Glenville State.
During this past season as a senior, Strader threw for 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns despite playing most of the season with a leg/ankle injury.
He earned First-Team All-Big 10 Conference honors and was selected to the All-State Special Honorable Mention football team this past fall.
As a junior he threw for 750 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 474 yards and eight scores as he earned All-State Special Honorable Mention football honors that year as well.
He ended his career with over 2,500 passing yards and 20 passing touchdowns.
“This is an awesome moment for Ryan, and I am very excited for him,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Duane Stoeckle. “He represents what students at Buckhannon-Upshur can accomplish on the field and in the classroom. We always tell our players to give yourself that opportunity. Do the things in the classroom and in practice. Hopefully, our younger players will understand that. Ryan came in a tall and skinny freshman, but he worked hard and now he is going to play football at the college level. I think without a doubt he has the talent to be able to succeed at that level.”
Strader said he gives all the credit in the world to Stoeckle and the Buckhannon-Upshur coaching staff for believing in him as a player and a student-athlete.
“I am so appreciative of coach Stoeckle and really the entire coaching staff,” remarked Strader. “My eighth-grade year of playing football, I didn’t play quarterback, just a little bit of defense. When I decided to play at the high school level, I played at the junior varsity level my freshman year and then my sophomore year, I was the starting quarterback at the varsity level. Coach Stoeckle and his staff gave me a shot and let me run with it and I just took off.”
Strader said he hopes his signing to play collegiate football will push other local football players to reach for the stars.
“It’s my hope that it gives everyone that understanding that they can do it to and gives them that little bit of grit that they need to keep pushing forward,” concluded Strader. “You have to have the heart and the desire to work hard and push on, if you have those qualities, then anything is possible.”
Strader said he will major in criminal justice while attending Glenville State.