Ryan said: "We've been looking for a tighthead prop for a while and one we thought we could develop.
"To get someone of such enormous potential and someone who can really grow with us is a fantastic addition to the squad. I'm excited about how much he could grow as a player."
The Warriors boss confirmed the club had first seen the young forward in action for South African Barbarians against Saracens last year.
He continued: "We first followed Nick last year for the South African Barbarians and we chased him a little bit.
"He was with Super 15 side Sharks but it's log-jammed there so he went away and played at GWK Griquas in South Africa's Currie Cup.
"From that he got a Super Rugby contract at Cheetahs, so for him to come and join us here - we're really pleased."
And the Director of Rugby insists it is an exciting opportunity for the youngster, who will link-up with former teammate Mike Williams.
The pair played together at Under 19 and 21 level for the Sharks, as well as coming up against one another in South Africa's Vodacom Cup and Varsity Cup.
He concluded: "When you see the size of Nick you forget he's just 22. He has German ancestry and English links so he was excited about exploring Europe.
"He was thinking about opportunities and we got there at the right time.
"He's been involved with Super Rugby this year but we told him what we are doing here and how he would fit in as part of the jigsaw.
"He was excited and will team-up with one of his best friends in Mike Williams, with the pair having played together for a number of years."