Ryan Broyles was a record setting receiver and two-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma and was selected with the 54th overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. A three sport star in high school, Broyles would go on to re-write the record books for the Sooners before his rise to the NFL. But beyond the game, Broyles is far more than your ordinary NFL star and he sat down with Youth1 Media for his Y1 on 1 to tell us how:
How have sports helped you most in life?
Sports have been huge in my life. First and foremost my coaches have helped me develop not only as an athlete but as a hard working person. The game has given me the drive to succeed in life. I feel athletes have the edge over other individuals because we have been battle-tested; we have been taken to the edge and back and learned how to respond in tough situations.
Do you have one or two mentors that have a played a major role in your sports journey?
Scott Hecox was my best friend’s dad growing up. He started coaching our basketball and football teams when I was eight up through middle school. He has always been a mentor, keeping me on track to chase my God given ability.
You’ve accomplished so much at all levels including the NFL. Any moments that stand out over others?
Really just achieving my goal to make it to the National Football League. It was a lifelong dream so that was one of the most fulfilling moments for friends, family, and myself.
Injuries have played a significant role in your career since you left Oklahoma and even in your last game at OU. What advice can you give to youth athletes on how to persevere and overcome those obstacles?
Stay in the game since there will always be ups and downs. Remember your goals are bigger than your setbacks and lean on them during tough times. You are in control of your attitude and you will go as it goes.
Were there any pivotal memories that shaped your journey to being in the NFL?
I had great mentors that believed in me along the way. I had coaches that told me at a young age I could be something special on the field and I worked to prove them right. At age 10, Scott Hecox told me I was the best athlete he had ever seen and then again as a 9th grader my coach told me I had the ability to get a scholarship. I wanted to prove them right at all costs.
You were one of Oklahoma’s elite in high school in three sports, football, basketball and track and field. Specializing is such a hot topic in sports. Would you advise youth athletes to play multiple sports or focus on one?
I think playing multiple sports is very beneficial. First and foremost if or when you make it to the next level playing multiple sports will never be an option. I also think to perfect multiple sports builds character and work ethic. Coaches like athletes and not always the one-dimensional athlete.
What specific advice do you have for youth athletes? Maybe you can share a bit about how you choose to live on a $60,000 a year budget for you and your family and are smart with your money.
I never wanted to be a statistic. I never wanted to be a guy that made it and lost it all. I also believe as Americans we try so hard to “Keep up with the Joneses”. That is when true defeat steps in. We will chase fame, money, and the like. You will always be chasing and never be truly fulfilled. So I chose to live on the budget.
On October 15, 2011, you broke the all-time FBS career reception record versus Kansas with your 317th career catch. While that record has since been eclipsed in a pass happy sport, what do you remember most about that moment and time?
The moment was surreal. I remember standing on the sideline during a timeout with my coach looking at me and he asked if I was ready to break the record. “Of course” was the answer! We drew up a go ball and I scored on the record breaker. I not only set the NCAA record in all time catches with that play but I set a Big 12 TD record as well!
Looking back, is there anything on your journey that you would have changed or done differently?
There is not a thing I would change. I feel the path that was laid before me was the path I took. The ups and the downs are what has made me who I am today.
In Spring 2011 you and other OU athletes traveled to Haiti and volunteered at the Mission of Hope. You saw some incredibly sad things: poverty, no running water, hunger and no electricity. What did you take away from that experience that will be with you through life?
As Americans we are very blessed and very spoiled. I saw kids with no clothes and shoes happier than most of us will be. They did not cherish material things like we do here in the States. Then again, that’s what makes America great. We have the upward mobility to be whatever we want in this world. It is a Catch 22. I go about my daily life with more balance because I have seen both sides to the story.
Outside of sports, what are some of your other interests?
I love being with my family. I have a wife of almost four years and a baby son that just turned 1. I’m big into teaching and helping others with financial education and life skills. I have learned a lot from past mentors and feel it is my duty to shed that light onto others.
Do you take part in any philanthropic endeavors or work with any charities that you would like to share with our readers?
I have my own foundation: The Ryan Broyles Foundation. I started it in 2012 shortly after I got drafted. We focus on underprivileged families. I was the kid that needed many handouts to make it here so feel strongly about helping others. Giving back has truly made me feel complete.
For more on The Ryan Broyles Foundation visit www.ryanlbroyles.com/Ryan-Broyles-Foundation/
Follow Ryan Broyles on Twitter @RyanBroyles
Edited by Kathleen Nolan
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