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Ryan Fuqua: The everyday kid

He is Portland State’s starting tailback, and he’s not an overpowering monster like one would think from the stat sheet. Ryan Fuqua stands five feet ten tall and weighs in at 200 pounds. He was not recruited as a running back out of high school for that reason. Most schools saw Fuqua as a cornerback and told him he’d have to switch his position for their programs. Fuqua was set in his own ways and stuck to his plan of staying a running back. Fortunately, Portland State found Fuqua and signed him, and he has become an exceptional tailback. Fuqua comes from a family of five, with his father, Reginald, mother, Karen and two older siblings, Sandy and Reggie.

“I’m real close to my family. We keep in contact a lot. I talk to them pretty much every week and my parents almost every day,” a humble Fuqua said.

Fuqua, from California, attended the 400-student Ontario Christian High School. There, he participated in not only football, but also basketball and track. He ended his career at Ontario as the school’s all-time leading rusher with about an astounding 5,600 yards. Fuqua’s best single game for rushing came when he rumbled for 372 yards.

Ironically, he beat this last year, with 393 yards, playing at Portland State against Division I competition. He collected 10 games with 300 or more yards rushing and averaged an eye-popping 9.8 yards per carry.

Other than being one of the top Division I-AA running backs in the nation, the administration of justice major leads a pretty normal college life. Actually, he is quite an interesting personality, with his first and most important hobby being: sleeping.

“I really enjoy sleeping, whenever I can,” Fuqua said in all seriousness.

Other than sleeping, he gave the next common pastime for college males: video games.

“Some say I’m self-proclaimed, I won’t lie. When it comes to video games, I’m probably the greatest (Play Station 2) ‘Madden’ player ever. I’m pretty serious about video games,” Fuqua said as modestly as possible.

During the interview, he was watching TV. First on was “The Simpsons.” Then the channels never stopped turning. He said he also enjoys watching TV in his spare time, “Sports Center” probably being his favorite show. Another hobby Fuqua acknowledged taking part in on a regular basis is bowling.

“I love Barry Sanders. Watching him when I was younger intrigued me to go out and do the same thing he did. I admired the way he handled himself and what he did out there,” Fuqua said. He chose his number, #20, out of admiration for Sanders.

Fuqua hails his greatest sports moment as an honor to have under his belt: holding the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a three-game span, a surprising 903.

Fuqua plans to play football as long as he possibly can. If one day he’s unable to play he plans on attending law school.

“God blessed me with this gift, so I would like to play football as long as I can. God has also blessed me with the way I live my life. I would like to make that clear,” he said.

Fuqua, like any distinguished player, only had uplifting comments about his Vikings. There were a couple players that stuck out as giving all their effort in the team’s best interest.

��� ������”I’d like to give credit to Juston Wood. The amount of courage that guy plays with every night. He takes a lot of hits, but he keeps his head up. He has to dodge three or four guys before he can get a pass off because they blitz us a lot, and that doesn’t go in the stat book.”

Fuqua doesn’t see himself as the team’s best tailback.

“Saleem Muhammad is really our best tailback. He’s taken a team role because I was given the chance to play tailback, so he said he would play fullback for us. He’s taken a team role and doesn’t get as many touches by playing out of his position, but still playing so hard and doing a great job blocking for me.”

Fuqua had some final thoughts on the team’s future.

“The team is very talented. We have the potential to be as good as last year’s team. When we get it together, when all the pieces of the puzzle get together, look out, because it’s gonna be exciting,” he said.