Ryan Leahy grew up with Cincinnati in his blood. He attended and played football at LaSalle High School, which is just a few miles (7.8 according to Google Maps) down the road from UC. When the three-star recruit made his college decision, he chose to become a Bearcat and keep his ties to the area tight.
Interestingly enough, for how consistent Leahy has been in his loyalty to the Queen City, he made a major change when he joined the red and black. In high school, Leahy was a talented defensive lineman, rather than one of the offensive variety. He was ranked the No. 41 strong-side defensive end in the class of 2012 and the No. 57 player in the state of Ohio overall. ESPN also chose him as the No. 94 defensive tackle in the 2012 class. His ability to play up and down the line was a big drawing point, but his move to the offensive line showed just how deep his versatility ran.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2012, the 6’6", 292-pound lineman played in four games in 2013. In 2014, he became a more consistent part of the rotation, playing in eight games. That included three starts halfway through the campaign against USF, Tulane and East Carolina.
He stopped being just a part of the rotation and became a full-time starter last season, as he teamed with Parker Ehinger, Deyshawn Bond, Justin Murray and Idarius Ray to form one of the best offensive lines in the American Athletic Conference. Leahy’s consistent presence on the line (he started in all 13 games in 2015) was a rarity in a sport and at a position where bodies are constantly crashing against each other. Leahy was one of four players to start in all 13 games for the Bearcats last season. Ehinger, Murray and wide receiver Shaq Washington were the others.
For his efforts in 2015 he earned second-team All-AAC honors. He will be in line for similar accolades at season’s end this time around as well.