September 16, 2013 | By Mike Helfgot, Special to the Chicago Tribune
Ryan Graham has seen and heard enough to know the difference. Graham, a Wheaton Warrenville senior and three-year varsity player, is aware that when colleges tell a potential recruit they want to see his first few games on film before deciding whether to offer, they’ve likely already decided not to. That was the impression Wheaton South’s quarterback got from most of the schools that stalled on him, but Northern Illinois felt different. “They always followed up with me,” Graham said. “They told me a bunch of stuff in the summer, and they did what they said. There was constant contact. I could tell they were actually interested in me.”
The Huskies obviously liked what they saw out of Graham and the option Wheaton South is running more often this season, because they offered him a scholarship before the Tigers’ 17-13 victory over Wheaton North on Friday. Graham, who had a rough junior season as Wheaton South went an uncharacteristic 4-5, jumped at the chance to play for his father’s alma mater and follow up on the remarkable success of current NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch. Dan Graham played center and tight end for the Huskies from 1984-87 and is a member of NIU’s all-time team. “It gives me a lot of relief,” Ryan Graham said. “I’ve been looking for an opportunity at the next level. This gives me a lot of confidence and relieves a lot of stress I’ve been having.” He’s been handling the pressure well. Wheaton South is 3-0 against arguably the toughest early season schedule in the state — Glenbard West, Maine South and Wheaton North. “Every program in today’s offensive template has a unique characteristic in what they are looking for and what they define as a quarterback,” Wheaton South coach Ron Muhitch said. “For Ryan as an option guy who can do things with his feet and throw the ball, I think he is a real good understudy to what Lynch has successfully put in place. “I’m happy for Ryan and for NIU. I think it is a good fit.”
Ryan Graham Class 2014 – Three-year varsity letter winner at quarterback for Wheaton Warrenville South High School. Completed 151-of-298 passes for 2,007 yards and 24 touchdowns in two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Tigers. Recorded 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns on 247 carries over the past two seasons. Named team MVP and second team all-DuPage Valley Conference as a senior. Threw for 1,079 yards on 70-of-146 passing in 2013 and tossed 13 touchdown passes. Gained 576 yards on the ground as a senior, scoring twice. Helped WWSHS advance to the second round of the IHSA Class 7A playoffs in 2013. Selected as a team captain prior to his senior year. Tallied 928 yards and 11 touchdowns on 81-of-152 passing as a junior. Scored nine rushing touchdowns in 2012 while gaining 520 yards on 118 carries. Son of former NIU (1983-87) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Dan Graham. Uncle, Russ, played linebacker and safety at NIU (1979-82). Uncle, Kent, played 10 seasons in the National Football League with the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. Cousin, Daniel, plays quarterback at Hawaii.