Ryan Keiser came to Penn State as a walk-on but earned a scholarship with his hard work and solid play on the field. From Selinsgrove, Pa., he saw time in every game during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, mostly on special teams. He was the holder for place kicks and also covered kicks.
During his junior season he began contributing more as a safety, grabbing 3 interceptions and breaking up 8 passes. He was a team captain during his senior season, and was having a great year when he broke his rib in what was called a freak injury during practice. Unfortunately for Keiser, he also suffered a perforated small intestine, having several surgeries and even finding himself in intensive care for a week during the season.
Keiser lost 40 pounds during the medical scare but was able to recover. He trained at Penn State while sitting out a year, preparing for an attempt to play in the NFL. At his Pro Day he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and had a 37-inch vertical. It was enough to get an invitation to the Baltimore Ravens’ mini camp in 2016.
Ryan married his high school sweetheart while at Penn State and also was a campus minister for State College’s Christ Community Church. It was the support that he gained from each that helped him during the 560 days that he had to wait between the injury at Penn State and his chance to show what he could do at the NFL level.
Keiser never caught on in the NFL but he will certainly be an inspiration to those who follow the Penn State program. He came in with no promises other than a chance to play and made a pretty memorable career out of it.
Just 23 more days until kickoff!