Two stellar members of the Linebacker Legion are working together to deliver a gift to the Northeast Ohio community.
In 2019, Adam Shibley '17 (currently a student-athlete at the University of Michigan) founded The Uniform Funding Foundation (TUFF), a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for uniforms for youth sports teams in need.
Last week, Shibley connected with Jake Ryan '10. The current Jacksonville Jaguar agreed to donate a set of uniforms to the Cleveland Muny Football League.
“Jake Ryan has been a football player and man that I have looked up to throughout my time at Saint Ignatius and while I have been at Michigan," Shibley said. "Our paths are different but have some similarities. It’s funny when we were talking, we realized that I am currently living on the same street that he lived on during his time in Ann Arbor. Jake is rare in the sense that he is a first-class guy while excelling at a very high level on the field. It is powerful to see even being in the NFL, Jake’s roots of being a Man for Others still hold strong. TUFF having the opportunity to collaborate with Jake for this donation and benefit a youth team in the city of Cleveland is a dream come true."
After an outstanding career as a Saint Ignatius student-athlete, Ryan has enjoyed great success. Ryan excelled at the University of Michigan. He served as a team captain and leader for the Wolverines, and delivered great results on the field. He was voted All-Big Ten first team by both the coaches and the media.
In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Ryan in the fourth round. Ryan spent four seasons with the Packers before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. While he missed much of the season due to injury, Ryan will be back in 2020 in the second year of a 2-year, $6.5 million contract.
His former linebackers coach Ryan Franzinger '02 is impressed at Ryan's generosity. The Wildcats' defensive coordinator/LB coach and the Assistant Principal for Discipline is very proud of Ryan.
"Jake is a professional athlete. NFL players make good money, but he's not out there spending it on crazy things he doesn't need. He's using it to help others," Franzinger said. "That's what we want from our graduates. In particular, he's sharing the game with others. Obviously, Jake learned from his dad how to manage his finances. It's great that he's able to share with others."
Indeed, Jake's dad, Tim Ryan '80, is a Senior Vice President-Wealth Management for UBS Financial Services. Ryan also enjoyed a stellar career at Saint Ignatius, earning his spot in the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Beyond the financial aspect, Ryan's and Shibley's willingness to share the game with others is admirable.
"Equipment and jerseys are important to players," Franzinger said. "With good people like Jake and Adam, they're sharing their love for the game and ensuring that these young people have the equipment they need. To share the game with others is a powerful thing."
TUFF will be hosting its 1st annual Tailgate for TUFF Fundraiser at Signature of Solon on March 14 from 6-9 pm. To support Shibley's non-profit or to learn more about TUFF, visit: https://gettuff.org.