sportsMarch 7, 2024
Isaiah Collins
Blake Schowalter

As a high school recruit with zero division one offers, Ryan Flournoy's dream of being an NFL athlete seemed unattainable, but through hard work and never losing faith, Flournoy finds himself just one step closer to turning his dream into a reality.

Flournoy was an unranked zero star recruit out of Homewood-Flossmoor high school in 2018 according to the 247sports composite score. The score averages recruit scores across all major online recruiting databases.

The lack of recognition did not stop Flournoy from chasing his dreams. After countless setbacks, whether it be redshirting as a freshman with Central Missouri, tearing his ACL while at Iowa Western Community College, or breaking his left hand during his final season at SEMO only to return two games later. Flournoy never stopped in his pursuit of being an NFL athlete.

“It’s definitely been hard. Just knowing, keeping the faith that I know I should be in the NFL, so that’s what kept me going,” Flournoy said. “I never let any obstacle stop me from chasing dreams or getting to where I want to be so with that being said tearing my ACL tearing my meniscus breaking my hand at the moment I was down bad but now looking back it was just something I had to get me better, get me stronger.”

Flournoy’s passion was rewarded with multiple All-OVC/Big South honors, a Reese’s senior bowl invite, and him becoming the third SEMO player to ever receive an invite to the NFL Combine, the first Redhawk since defensive lineman Angel Rubio in 1998.

“I’ve been playing football since I was five years old. The passion I have for this game and the love, like I really live football,” Flournoy said.

The NFL Combine served as arguably one of the biggest job interviews of Flournoy’s life while also giving him the opportunity to sit face to face and talk with NFL head coaches, scouts and general managers. During the Combine, the former 1st Team All-OVC receiver met with teams such as the Los Angeles Chargers, Chicago Bears and his favorite team growing up, the New England Patriots.

“I really like the Chargers, really like the Bears, I like all 32 honestly. All genuine people and all see my potential,” Flournoy said. “The [Patriots’] OC was our coordinator for the senior bowl and I got to pick his brain and rub elbows with him.”

When it came time to showcase his athletic abilities to all 32 NFL teams on the field Flournoy did not disappoint. As an FCS product many people tend to question whether your athleticism will match up with big time power-5 players but Flournoy put those doubts to rest.

Flournoy finished fourth in the broad jump (11’0”), tied for second in the bench press (19 reps of 225 lbs.) ranked 15th in the 40-yard dash (4.44 sec.), tied for seventh in the vertical jump (39.50”), and reached the second highest top speed in the receiver gauntlet drill (19.81 mph).

Flournoy’s performance earned him an athleticism score of 84 ranking him sixth in the wide receiver class according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Flournoy’s performance backed the belief of SEMO Offensive Pass Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, Justin Drudik as to what impresses him most about Flournoy.

“I honestly don’t know because that’s what makes him so impressive. He’s an all-around athlete like you see some guys with 4.4 speed, but they’re weak in the weight room or they don’t have the size and height. He is the strongest wide out maybe I’ve ever coached to be honest with you,” Drudik said. “He’s strong, he’s fast, he’s great character like he’s everything you want.”

Flournoy reflected on his time with the Redhawks and credits SEMO for not only making him a better football player but also making him a better man.

“The love I have for SEMO is truly unmatched because they molded me into a better man, not just a better football player,” Flournoy said. “After my 2022 season I had a lot of teams come out the woodwork, but I stayed loyal to SEMO and coach Tuke and really just wanted to show people like I can make it from FCS.”

As the NFL draft approaches Coach Tuke’s word’s following Flournoy’s six catch, 203 yard, one touchdown performance against Tennessee Tech on Oct. 21 remain as strong as ever.

“He’s just a special guy and you know the Redhawks need to appreciate what we’re watching,” Matukiwietz said. “I think he’s gonna do the same thing in the NFL you know. He is a dynamite player.”

Ryan Flournoy’s next step to achieving his NFL dreams will be April 25th - April 27th as the NFL holds its 89th annual NFL Draft in Detroit, Michigan.