A former top-ten overall recruit (Colorado), Hewitt was recruited to Stanford to play Tight End. His senior year (2008), Ryan earned team MVP and a spot on the All-Colorado Team. He redshirted in 2009, not seeing any time on the field. In 2010 (RS FR), Ryan plays in all 13 games as a reserve Tight End and Fullback. During his first year as a starter in 2011 (RS SO) Ryan only had 10 carries for 35 yards, however, caught 34 passes for 282 yards and 5 touchdown, becoming the teams third leading Receiver (mostly due to Zach Ertz’s injury). One question still remains heading into the 2012 season; Can he improve both as a rushing and receiving threat, while losing all the talent around him from the 2011 Fiesta Bowl Team (Luck, Fleener, Owusu, DeCastro, and Martin).
Size and Speed: Ryan enters fall camp standing 6’4 and 250 pounds. He utilizes both his height and weight to his advantage, first he can take on and move defensive lineman and linebackers from the play, secondly, he can go up and over the defensive backs on passing plays. Ryan has been timed in the 4.72-4.78 40 range, with a second gear to breakaway from linebackers, but is unable to maintain that speed when he gets to and past the third level.
Blocking: Ryan has great blocking technique and shows a specialist type of ability, both in run and passing situations. He keeps his head up, constantly scanning the field for a helmet to block/move. Ryan keeps a firm, strong base, while also remaining flexible enough to disengage and find another defender. He has a strong initial punch, capable of “stunning” or stoning the defender at the line and keeping them out of his body. Ryan shows flexibility at his core and knees, while showing great balance and footwork in pass protection.
Running Ability: Ryan is strong when running inside, while having enough speed and vision to break to the outside (*this may not be the case at the next level*). He needs to show the ability to carry a work load (more carries) and maintaining his blocking ability.
Hands: Ryan has under-appreciated hands and route running ability to defensive coordinators. He has large, soft hands, and is rarely covered when he is in the flats. He is a hands first catcher, but will drop the easy pass on occasion. He extends his arms, has a great punch, while being able to place his hands quickly onto the defender, not allowing them to get into his body, while pushing them back and out of the play.
Special Teams: While not actively on Special Teams at Stanford, Ryan could create a niche for himself at the next level, both as a punter protector and gunner. With his blocking ability and awareness, he would be able to set the wall and spring the returner.
Overall: While not overly explosive, Ryan seemed to jump out while he was on the field. Ryan plays a similar role at Stanford to that of Montell Owens, a running back/fullback/tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He needs to show a bigger role offensively this next year to make up for the talent that left in this April’s NFL Draft to solidify his draft stock.