Luke Kuechly, Matt Ryan to have jerseys retired by BC

July 06, 2016 - 5:16 am
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Boston College announced Tuesday that it will retire the numbers of former football stars Luke Kuechly and Matt Ryan in ceremonies this fall. Kuechly's No. 40 will be retired Oct. 22 at the Eagles' game against Syracuse, while Ryan's No. 12 will be retired Nov. 19 during a contest against UConn. "On behalf of Boston College and Eagles fans everywhere, I would like to congratulate Luke and Matt on this well-deserved honor," BC athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement. "Matt and Luke represent the very best of intercollegiate athletics and personify the Jesuit principle of 'men and women for others.' Both enjoyed brilliant collegiate careers and have gone on to enjoy success in the NFL. Beyond the gridiron you would be hard-pressed to find two gentlemen who conduct themselves with more integrity, disciple, generosity and kindness. They make all of us very proud." Kuechly was a two-time consensus first-team All-American and in consecutive seasons he led the nation in total tackles, tackles per game, solo tackles and solo tackles per game. His 532 career tackles is the most in BC history. In 2012 he won several postseason awards including the Dick Butkus Award (most outstanding linebacker), the Lott IMPACT Trophy (college football's defensive best in character and performance), the Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player in college football) and the Rotary Lombardi Award (best linebacker in college football). The linebacker was drafted ninth overall by the Panthers in 2012 and won the AP Defensive Rookie of Year that season. In 2013 he was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. Despite suffering a concussion in Week 1 last season, Kuechly was able to help the Panthers establish one of the best defenses in the league and guide them to the Super Bowl. Last season he became the first linebacker to have multiple interception return touchdowns in a season during the Super Bowl era. In September 2015, Kuechly signed a five-year, $62 million extension, which gave him the highest annual average salary among middle linebackers. "It's a tremendous honor to have my jersey retired," Kuechly said. "It is very important to me because of the love I have for Boston College and the memories I created not only on the field but throughout all of campus. It's an honor to have my name in Alumni Stadium along with Doug Flutie, Mike Ruth and the other great players who have been recognized. I truly enjoyed my time at Boston College and would definitely choose BC if I had to do it again." In 2007 Ryan helped BC get off to an 8-0 start and a No. 2 national ranking and ultimately led the Eagles to an 11-3 record, their best since 1940, and an ACC Atlantic Division championship. That season, Ryan set the record for the BC single-season passing yards with 4,507 and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm (given to the nation's top senior quarterback), the Manning Award (given to the nation's top quarterback) and ACC Player of the Year. In the 2008 draft the Atlanta Falcons took Ryan third overall, and he rewarded them by winning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. "Boston College is an amazing place," Ryan said. "I am very fortunate to have had so many great memories during my college years at BC. I continue to be so fortunate with the retirement of my jersey and I am humbled that it will hang in Alumni Stadium with BC legends Doug Flutie, Mike Ruth and now Luke Kuechly. I'm so thankful for the guidance of all my coaches and the support of all my teammates during my time on campus. Football is the ultimate team sport and without their contributions none of this would have been possible." BC previously has retired jerseys to pay tribute to 10 others. In addition to Flutie and Ruth, the honored include Art Donovan, Bill Flynn, Gene Goodreault, Mike Holovak, Lou Montgomery, Charles O'Rourke, Tony Thurman and Louis Urban.