Name: Jake Ryan
Weight: 224 lbs.
High school: St. Ignatius High School in Westlake, OH
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #37
Last year: I ranked Ryan #80 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
Ryan came out of high school as a bit of a wild card. Some thought he would be an outside linebacker, some thought he would play MIKE, and some thought he would outgrow the linebacker position altogether and put his hand down as a defensive end. He was too light and too raw to play last season, but toward the end of the year and during bowl practices, Ryan really started to make a name for himself.
He continued that momentum in the spring and made a push for the starting SAM linebacker position, which is part edge rusher. Both of the candidates for SAM have some shortcomings; Cam Gordon is a little too wiry, and Ryan lacks technique. But over the summer, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison made a comment like, “Ryan doesn’t have any technique, but then you look up and he’s making sacks.” He might be one of those kids who just has a natural ability to make plays. In limited playing time back in the spring game, Ryan made a sack and returned a Devin Gardner interception for a touchdown. He’s a little bigger than Gordon (who’s a former safety) but a little less athletic, so whoever gets the call at SAM from play to play, series to series, quarter to quarter, or game to game might depend on whether the opponent’s strength is running or passing.
Prediction: Backup SAM; 40 tackles, 2 sacks
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