FORT LAUDERDALE, FL. – From the gridiron to the real estate world, Ryan Lezzer continues to approach the tasks in front of him head on.
The former Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State selection is one of the top players to suit up for the Clearfield Bison football program this century, but his success will not be contained to just the game of football.
Lezzer earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sales and Business Marketing from Western Michigan University in May 2021, a degree that is hard to find at many business schools around the country.
According to the Western Michigan University website, the institution is “one of just a handful of universities that offers a major focusing on selling and sales leadership. They have been recognized since 2007 as having one of the “Top University Sales Programs” by the Sales Education Foundation and are ranked number one in “Top U.S. Sales Schools” by Study.com.”
“I always knew I wanted to be in business, and when I saw that Western Michigan offered an extensive sales and marketing program, I knew it was a pretty special opportunity I couldn’t really pass up. Their role playing labs have helped set me apart. I really liked that aspect.”
Going to Western Michigan was not a decision just based on obtaining a strong degree, but a decision that also factored Mid-American Conference (MAC) football into the equation. Initially, a Youngstown State verbal commit, Lezzer decided a scholarship offer from a winning MAC program was something he could not pass up.
“Youngstown State has a great program and were coming off a great season and a deep run in the postseason. I knew a lot of their guys, but I really liked my conversations with Western Michigan. Contact fell off for a bit, but when P. J. Fleck left, I became a scholarship player. It was kind of a leap of faith but I knew it would be the best situation for me.”
A strong family connection between the Lezzer family and Western Michigan’s Assistant Coach – Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator, Bill Kenney, helped the Broncos to know about what Lezzer was accomplishing in Pennsylvania throughout his time as a high school player.
“My uncles played for Coach Kenny at Penn State, so I got to know Coach Kenny because of that,” he said. “I really enjoyed my official visit and got to meet Coach (Tim) Lester on the visit. I liked what they told me about the program and what I was going to be doing for the team.”
After graduating from Clearfield Area High in 2017, Lezzer had racked up 115 career catches for 2,130 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 109 times for 855 yards and 11 scores. As a high school senior, he recorded 650 yards receiving with 10 touchdowns on offense. On defense, he picked off five passes while playing at safety. He concluded his career with 16 interceptions and three interception return touchdowns for the Bison. While these accolades were impressive, the most fun he believes he has had on the field was as a freshman playing alongside his older brother, Christian, on one of the best Bison teams to ever suit up for the program. The 2013 Clearfield Bison went 13-1, went 8-0 in the Mountain League, and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals.
“The older I get, the more I look back and appreciate the great teammates, coaches, and times I had being a part of Clearfield football,” Lezzer said. Having the coaches we had, the type of workers we had, the closeness of the team, and having my parents and grandparents always in the stands made that a special time.”
Lezzer’s time in college football truly was gone in a flash as a redshirt year, two major knee injuries, and COVID-19 all tailored into his four years as a college football player being hindered. Lezzer still has several years of eligibility, but after testing the transfer portal, he decided it was time for a new beginning in his life.
“It was tough for me to find a school and a new opportunity with so many other programs and players also being affected by COVID-19 and deciding to stick around to play the next year. I talked to a few schools, but nothing materialized. I just decided that I was ready to move on and had Florida on my mind.”
Since graduating from Western Michigan, Lezzer has in fact moved to Florida and has started a career in real estate for the Chad Carroll Group out of Fort Lauderdale. He officially became a Real Estate Associate in September and is working as a Luxury Real Estate Agent. What encouraged him to enter the field was seeing the level of success and impact his father, K.C., and brother, Christian, have had in the industry.
“This has been a really cool and unique time to enter the industry. The market really is riding a wave. I liked the personal connections you make as an agent and also to deliver something of value to the customer. Moving to Florida also gave me the opportunity to be closer to my grandma and finally experience the warmer weather I always wanted.”
While college football went too fast for the Clearfield native, he played in a game against the University of South California, made a trip with the Western Michigan program to Boise, Idaho for the Idaho Potato Bowl, and made a trip to Dallas, Texas to watch the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl with the team.
“Bowl season was a great experience. Just being with the team and experiencing new cities and postseason football was such a cool experience. I really enjoyed the trip to Boise specifically. It is a place I would love to go back to someday.”
Some day, Ryan Lezzer may return to the sidelines, but this time, differently. He hopes that coaching could be in his future, but for now, he is content watching his younger brother, Jake, his former teammates from Western Michigan on Saturdays, and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sundays. Ryan Lezzer is not just a football player, but a young business professional who played college football.