By David Fong
TROY — Every time Ryan Daum steps on the football field this fall, he’ll be making history.
“It’s very exciting — you get to be part of the first time everything happens,” said Daum, a Troy High School senior who recently signed his national letter of intent to play football at Cincinnati Christian University. This fall will mark the first time in school history the Eagles have ever fielded a football team. “You get to be a part of the first team. You get to be a part of the first team picture. I could go out there and have the first tackle in school history.”
Not only will Daum have the opportunity to make history by playing for a fledgling program, he’s also looking forward to possibly playing immediately. Since it is a first-year program, Daum won’t have to worry about competing with upperclassmen for playing time.
“I’m excited that I’ll have the opportunity to play for four years,” he said. “A lot of times when you go to college, you have to sit the first few years because there are upperclassmen ahead of you.”
Which doesn’t mean Daum thinks it will be easy at Cincinnati Christian, an NAIA Division II program.
“When I went down there on Feb. 3 for signing day, you could tell they had some athletes there,” he said.
Daum will be playing for head coach David Fulcher, a three-time Pro Bowl selection at strong safety for the Cincinnati Bengals. Fulcher was one of the most popular players on the Bengals Super Bowl XXIII team in 1989.
“I don’t really know that much about him … that was a little before my time,” Daum said. “I know he played in the NFL and I think he’s going to be a good coach.”
After missing nearly a full season his final two years in high school, Daum had wondered if he’d get the opportunity to play college football. A starter at offensive guard as a sophomore, Daum played defensive end and outside linebacker as a junior, recording 30 tackles and 0.5 sacks — but missed the last four games of the season with a concussion.
This past fall, Daum moved to middle linebacker, but broke his hand in the final scrimmage of the preseason and missed the first five games of the year. Even though he missed half the season, though, Daum still averaged more than 10 tackles per game, finishing with 53 tackles and a sack. He earned second-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division honors.
Missing so much time his final two seasons hurt his recruiting, but Daum said everything has worked out for the best.
“My dad went to Cincinnati Christian,” he said. “When he read on the Internet they were starting a football team, he sent them some film of me. I’m looking forward to play football again, especially after missing so much time in high school. I love football.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong