ROTTERDAM — All of those yards, touchdowns, records and postseason accolades. And now a signed letter to play for Springfield College.
Mohonasen High School senior Ryan Deguire said all of that came close to never happening.
“My size almost deterred me,” the 17-year-old said Wednesday after officially committing to play for the Division III Pride. “In the summer before my freshman year, I was thinking about not playing football. I was so small, but the day before double sessions I decided I had to do it.
“I could not go through a season without football.”
For two years on the Mohonasen junior varsity and two with the varsity, Deguire not only played but excelled, small stature and all.
“His passion is overwheling,” Mohonasen varsity football coach Scott Sabourin said of the 5-foot-7, 155-pound three-sport athlete. “In practice. In the weight room. On the field. He really enjoys the game.”
Deguire will be playing the game for a Springfield team that prefers to run the ball more than throw it. That’s what Deguire did this past season as Mohonasen’s running back-turned-quarterback when he ran for 2,011 yards on 220 attempts for the second-highest total ever for a Schenectady County player. The all-state second-team selection also passed for 378 yards (31-for-58).
“They pretty much go with three running backs,” Deguire said of the Pride, whose roster includes quarterback Jake Eglintine, a Saratoga Springs graduate. “What they do is what we did this season. They run the ball.”
Deguire, who ran for 25 touchdowns, passed for five and returned an interception for another in 2016, is anxious to be a part of Springfield’s offense.
“I want to work as hard as I can leading up to camp and compete for a spot,” said Deguire, who was recruited as a quarterback but could also be used as a slotback and kick and punt returner. “I have to step up. I don’t like to say it, but I’m confident in myself.”
The Daily Gazette and Class A Southeast Division Offensive Player of the Year finished his senior campaign with 2,521 total yards including kick returns, topping the 2,007 he piled up as a junior when he was tabbed the Gazette’s first-team all-purpose player.
“He put a lot of work in,” Kevin Deguire, Ryan’s dad, said. “He was very committed to the weight room. He added pounds and muscle and that a made a difference in everything he did. He was always a tough kid, though.”
Sabourin said it was Deguire’s speed that the Springfield staff found particularly appealing.
“He ran a legitimate 4.5  for them, and that’s moving,” Sabourin said. “In Division III, 4.5 gets you on the field. I would wager Springfield doesn’t have a lot of guys who can run a 4.5.”
Springfield competes in the Liberty League and beat Union College as part of its 4-3 conference and 5-5 overall record in 2016.
“If I wasn’t doing this, I would probably be home getting ready for baseball practice,” Deguire said after signing his national letter of intent.
Deguire is beginning his third season of varsity baseball, and recently completed his second season as a member of Mohonasen’s varsity basketball team. He helped the Mighty Warriors reach the Section II Class A semifinals and made the all-tournament team.
“He attacks the base paths,” Sabourin. “In basketball, he’ll get in there and rebound. He’s just loves to compete.”
Deguire visited Union, Cortland and St. John Fisher as well as Springfield.
“They were there for me from the beginning and made me feel like I was wanted,” the honors student said. “The coaches made me feel it would be like home for me.”
Deguire will study either physical education or kinesiology.
“I have to stay on task with everything,” Deguire said. “They preach that. That’s what I also like about the school. My parents like that, too. They always say, ‘You’re a student first and an athlete second.’ They’d rather see me get an academic award than an athletic award.”
Mohonasen football players Ryan Reinke and Cam Huba also made their commitments official Wednesday, signing with St. Lawrence of the Liberty League and Alfred of the Empire 8, respectively.
“They’re great young men who love football,” Sabourin said of his trio of signees. “Great work ethic. Solid academics. No off-field issues. Not a hint.”
Reinke will bring versatility to 2016 Liberty League co-champion St. Lawrence (6-1, 9-1), having played tight end, defensive end and linebacker in his three varsity seasons at Mohonasen.
“Whatever is the best opportunity to get on the field,” said the 6-2, 230-pound Reinke, who made the Southeast Division first team as a tight end. “I’ll work as hard as I can and try to impress the coaches and try to earn my spot.”
Huba will join Empire 8 champion and national Division III quarterfinalist Alfred (8-0, 12-1) as a linebacker.
“My first year I want to show them something,” the Southeast Division first-team pick said. “I’d like to leave a good impression.”
Reinke and Huba will both be studying engineering.