He may not be the team’s biggest talker, but when the ball is in his hands, Fort Mill senior Ryan Heriot lets his feet speak for him.
Heriot, 17, has helped Fort Mill jump out to a good start for the 2017 football season. He has rushed for just 67 yards in his first four games on 35 carries, but has contributed three touchdowns on the ground for the Jackets and has five receptions for 95 yards over that stretch. Heriot is proving himself a dual threat.
However, He considers his defensive play at safety as one of the proudest accomplishments. Heriot has 21 tackles and an interception through four games. But getting him to talk about it isn’t easy.
“You can’t get him to say two words,” joked Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi. “He leads by example.”
Heriot started to standout last year for Fort Mill in the closing games of the season with his play at running back. He rushed for nearly 400 yards on 60 carries last year, scoring three times, and also caught six passes for 101 yards.
“He had to take on a bigger role for us,” Susi said. “He is the type of kid that does what you tell him the first time.”
So far as this season has progressed, Heriot said he is looking to continue to improve not only for himself, but the team.
“I always look for improvement,” he said. “I want to give my team more and I try to build on that as the season goes on.”
Heriot said he believes that Fort Mill has gotten off to a good start because of the team’s chemistry.
“We build off each other,” he said. “We know each other so well. We have a bond. Communication is a big part. We talk to each other after every play.”
Heriot started playing football in the fifth grade with flag football. Once he realized he like it, he started playing in pads the next year.
“I like the adrenaline on Friday nights,” he said. “I love Friday nights and making big plays. When you make big plays, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Heriot said he enjoys being a running back and gives a lot of credit to his offensive line for any success he may have.
“You have to have great vision,” he said. “Our O-line makes the right hole for me and you have to hit it. Without them, I don’t know what I would do. They make the holes for me.”
Heriot also plays basketball for Fort Mill, but said whatever sports takes him onto the next level, is the one he would probably go with. When it comes to football, he has heard from Newberry College about playing at there next year, but he said he isn’t ready to make any decisions regarding the future.
Being a two sport athlete, Heriot said basketball has helped him in football when it comes to agility.
“On defense you have to come down and slide your feet when making tackles,” he said. “Just like in basketball, that helps a lot so they won’t juke you.”
Heriot said he put in a lot of work over the summer on his defensive skills and said the team continues to put in the work to get better every week.
“We have got to execute down the field,” he said. “On defense we need to make stops and set up the offense in a good position.”
Susi said that other backs have emerged to help Heriot, so he is able to get some sort of a break on offense, but on defense, he usually doesn’t come off the field, which Heriot doesn’t mind.
“I like defense,” he said. “I like making stops and trying to cause turnovers.”
Mac Banks: email@example.com, @MacBanksFM
Yellow Jackets lose shootout
A defensive tug-of-war in the first half turned into a offensive shootout in the fourth quarter between the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets and York Cougars, before the host Cougars prevailed for a 28-21 win. Fort Mill (3-2) is on its bye week before visiting Region IV foe Northwestern at District Three Stadium in Rock Hill.