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December 30, 2008

Season recap: Ryan Donohue

Maryland linebacker commitment Ryan Donohue started and ended his senior season at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., with a flourish.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was “a warrior” all year long, according to Green Knights coach Tony Karcich. It began with St. Joseph’s Week 1 game at Giants Stadium against St. Peter’s Prep, the No. 2-ranked team in New Jersey.

“They have a running back committed to Notre Dame (Nyshier Oliver) and we just shut the kid down totally. Ryan was a big part of that,” Karcich said. “The play that I remember was in the second half. It was a tight game and Ryan blitzed, but it was an audible blitz because in this formation ... we knew they liked to run the draw and Ryan saw it and called it.

“As soon as the kid touched the ball, he absolutely lit him up. It was a high tackle that decleated the kid. It was just a punctuation mark on the game. Final score, 14-0. That’s it; it’s over. I think because it was the first game of the year, you needed him to step up. That sort of stands out. Truthfully, I could go to every game and there was probably something he did that was a big play.”

The Green Knights’ Donohue-led defense stifled opposing offenses throughout the remainder of the season. St. Joseph suffered a Week 8 loss to Don Bosco Prep, but rebounded with three straight wins to earn a spot in the state championship game.

“The final game of the year he had 20 tackles in Rutgers Stadium against Immaculata. We secured our 11th state championship in the last 14 years,” Karcich said. “They had an outstanding tailback who’s also going to Notre Dame (Theo Riddick). In the big games, the kid stepped up.”

Donohue recorded a team-high 135 total tackles, along with one sack and one interception. He also rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries, in addition to catching six passes for 53 yards and one score.

Donohue started his St. Joseph’s career as a sophomore running back on varsity. As a junior, he moved to fullback and started at inside linebacker. He played the same positions as a senior, before making the move on offense to tight end. Karcich said Donohue volunteered to play offensive guard later in the season when the need arose. He ultimately didn’t have to make that move to the line, but Karcich expects Donohue will have a similar attitude of doing whatever the coaches ask of him at Maryland.

“I think he’s a natural at inside linebacker,” Karcich said. “But because of his ability to run, I can see if they had a need they could have him as an outside linebacker. I could see him do that, too. The truth is, they may need a tight end or they may need a fullback. They recruited him as an inside linebacker, I believe, so that’s probably where he’ll go. But because of his athleticism and versatility, he could be utilized in various ways.”

Karcich said Donohue made major improvements throughout his career at St. Joseph. He wouldn’t be surprised if Donohue makes similar strides in College Park.

“He’s got a rare nose for the ball,” Karcich said. “What he did probably better [as a senior] was take on blockers better. I think because he got a little bigger and stronger, he was able to do that. Also, he’s a very disciplined type of kid that understands the game extremely well. ... The kid always steps up and that’s the sign of a great football player. In the big games and key situations, they step up.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:26 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps


My son starts on the Don Bosco Varsity squad and we played St. Joes. It's not hard not to notice Donohue on the football field...hard nosed, intelligent, and mean. Let's hope he continues his success at Maryland like another former Jersey LB (Wujicak).

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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