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Sutter's Staas signs with Division-II Chadron State
Husky linebacker earns scholarship
It may be 1,253 miles away for Ryan Staas, but Chadron, Neb., is closer to home than he thinks.
Sutter High's standout linebacker hopes the city of just under 6,000 citizens located in the northwest corner of the Cornhusker State has the "small-town" he knows so well.
Surrounded by prairie grassland, bluffs, canyons, rivers and forests, this remote locale in America's heartland has everything Staas could want — and his future football program isn't too shabby, either.
Staas signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to play NCAA Division II football at Chadron State College, beginning this fall. Staas earned a scholarship that will cover his tuition.
Chadron State competes in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Eagles went 9-3 last season and made the NCAA Tournament.
Staas, who grew up on a farm in Yuba County, is planning on majoring in business with a minor in agriculture. He's looking forward to carrying on that family tradition by pursuing his degree, while also continuing his passion of playing football.
"(Chadron) is a community a lot like Sutter," Staas said. "The school I chose had to have a good football program, agriculture and a place where I feel comfortable ... a smaller community, not a huge city."
Staas was also considering Southern Oregon University, but settled on Chadron in January.
Staas is part of the Eagles' 41-man signing class. His potential roommate could be Winters product Chris Mayes, the Butte View League's co-Offensive MVP in 2012.
Sutter assistant coach Nic Prather, a Black Hills State (South Dakota) graduate, dropped Staas' name to his former coach Jay Long, now the head man at Chadron.
Chadron's coaches didn't need much coaxing to offer Staas a scholarship — his résumé and the film they watched said enough.
Staas earned numerous accolades this past season, including Northern Section Defensive MVP, BVL co-Defensive MVP, Appeal-Democrat All-Area Defensive Player of the Year and he was also a MaxPreps Division III All-State selection.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound specimen led Sutter with 167 tackles, while adding 16 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions. He was a huge reason the Huskies took home the Northern Section Division II title and earned a spot in the CIF Northern California championship game.
"This is definitely a dream come true," Staas said. "I love football. This is what I worked for my whole life. Ever since I was a kid, I would say, I wanted to play in the NFL and college."
Notable Chadron State alumni include New England Patriots running back Danny Woodhead and former NFL wide receiver Don Beebe.
With the graduation of Chadron State's middle linebacker, Kevin Lindholm, Staas could make a push to start as a true freshman this fall.
Labeled by Sutter coach Ryan Reynolds as one of the hardest workers to come through his program, Staas is already putting in time in the weight room to get ready for the jump to the collegiate level.
"We have a history of good linebackers coming through our program," Reynolds said, "he without a doubt broke the mold and raised the bar for that middle linebacker position.
"One of the biggest battles we fight is getting kids to commit year-round. There's no question his commitment and dedication has been more than what we're used to."
Sutter defensive coordinator Matt Schamanski was able to see that firsthand on a daily basis for three seasons as well.
"Not a lot of kids out of high school get this kind of opportunity and I know he'll have great success," Schamanski said. "His work ethic is huge ... they're going to love him."