I had heard of Ryan Nieuwesteeg before I ever saw him play. I attended more than 50 high school football games this past season. As I talked with coaches and recruiters from programs across Ontario it became apparent that “that little running back from St Paul’s” was something of a phenom. When I first saw him play in the Golden Horseshoe Bowl playdowns he lived up to that billing.
From the Hamilton Spectator’s coverage of the SOSSA Championship:
Ryan Nieuwesteeg was a one-man wrecking crew for Saint Paul. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound running back scored four touchdowns and rushed for 239 yards on 19 carries. He also made three receptions for 38 yards.
Nieuwesteeg caught a 12-yard screen pass from quarterback Evan Murdza to open the scoring on the first drive. That was followed by touchdown runs of one, three and 33 yards.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen at our school,” veteran Saint Paul coach Rick Oreskovich said of the fifth-year Patriot and 100-metre sprinter. “Ryan is a competitor. He’s not a big kid, but he’s dangerous. He’s very strong and has great speed.”
Not just a RB, Nieuwesteeg also played defense and returned kicks for the Patriots. He came up big in the Golden Horseshoe semi-final comeback win over Brampton Notre Dame with a 44yd TD reception and a 22yd fumble return for a TD, both in the 4th Q. Nieuwesteeg seems to fit the bill for the new Guelph offense which emphasizes speed and quickness over size.
Niagara’s high school coaches voted Nieuwesteeg to the All Conference team and the AAAA Offensive Player of the Year. Nieuwesteeg also earned a place on the GHR All Star team.