2010 Countdown: #80 Jake Ryan

Tag: Jake Ryan

23Jun 2010
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2010 Countdown: #80 Jake Ryan

Name: Jake Ryan
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 220 lbs.
High school: St. Ignatius High School in Westlake, OH
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Prediction for 2010: Redshirt

Ryan was a late, under-the-radar addition to Michigan’s class. While he reported being recruited to play Craig Roh’s outside linebacker position, I feel that he would contribute best to the team at middle linebacker. Not only does Michigan have a shortage of inside linebackers, but I think Ryan does a good job of playing downhill and has the requisite speed for the position. I also think he looks like a WVU middle linebacker, which is where this defense seems to be heading.

Whichever linebacker position he ends up playing, he’s probably due for a redshirt. He’s a little bit light to play at the college level just yet, and the middle linebacker position can be filled by some combination of Obi Ezeh, JB Fitzgerald, or Kenny Demens. But I do think Ryan has a bright future ahead of him.

21Jun 2010
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2010 Countdown: #84 Davion Rogers

Name: Davion Rogers
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 210 lbs.
High school: Harding High School in Warren, OH
Position: Outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: N/A
Prediction for 2010: Redshirt

Rogers has all kinds of athleticism paired with the bulk of a wind sock. That’s not a good combination for playing early. Recruited to play the “Quick” outside linebacker/defensive end spot, he’ll immediately be behind sophomore starter Craig Roh and redshirt junior Brandon Herron. Along with those two, a big chunk of fellow freshmen were recruited to play Quick, all of whom have more college-ready bodies: Ken Wilkins, Jordan Paskorz, and Jake Ryan.

Rogers’ best chance for contributing in 2010 is on special teams. He has the speed and athleticism to get downfield and wreak some havoc on kick coverage teams, but I still expect him to spend his practice hours in Mike Barwis’ dungeon: bench press, front squat, chocolate milk, repeat.

16Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Linebacker

The realization that Michigan could be headed toward a 4-2-5 defense in 2010 makes the recent class’s linebacker recruiting a little murky. The Wolverines desperately needed some linebackers in the class, but largely failed to get what Michigan fans – and anlaysts – wanted to see from Rich Rodriguez. Presumably, Michigan’s two starting inside linebackers will graduate after 2010 (Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton), leaving only J.B. Fitzgerald, Kenny Demens, Isaiah Bell, and Mike Jones to play those two spots; only Fitzgerald has seen significant playing time thus far.

One of Michigan’s first commitments of the cycle, Youngstown, OH, linebacker Antonio Kinard arrived on the scene. He played fullback and middle linebacker in high school, but throughout the recruiting process, he and analysts insisted he was being recruited for the Quick end position. Shortly before National Signing Day, Kinard revealed that the coaches would start him off at the weakside linebacker position. So it looks as if Kinard will be groomed to be Mouton’s potential replacement. Kinard is 6’4″ and only 202 lbs., so he has some filling out to do. He has the speed and athleticism to be an excellent defender, and it’s promising that he actually played ILB as a high schooler.

Michigan’s second linebacker commitment came from Josh Furman, a SAM prospect from Millersville, MD. Originally recruited to play SAM, the potential switch to the 4-2-5 essentially eliminates the SAM linebacker. So it remains to be seen what position Furman will play. However, his physical skills might be the most impressive of any player in the entire class. At 6’3″ and 194 lbs., he supposedly ran a 4.37 laser-timed forty (which is surely fake, but still impressive, if only for its audacity). His speed is impressive, but he tends to run upright and could struggle with his agility at the next level. I don’t expect the SAM linebacker position to disappear permanently (it might only be a one-year experiment to maximize talent), but Furman has the frame and skills enough to bulk up to weakside linebacker size. As for the 2010 season, I expect Furman to get some reps at strong safety.

Predictions: Kinard will almost surely redshirt in 2010, and I’d expect him to be around 230 pounds by the time he earns some playing time in a couple years. He’s a more natural fit at inside linebacker than some of the other linebackers (Bell and Jones, for example), but I don’t see him really pushing for playing time until his third year. Furman, on the other hand, could very well play in 2010. I think he could be an excellent special teams player with his speed and size. Furthermore, while I don’t see him starting this year, he could very well get some backup minutes in the role of SS (or SAM). I wouldn’t trust him in deep zone coverage just yet, but he would be a good matchup in coverage on tight ends.

Grade: C. Michigan really needed a middle linebacker in this class, which the coaches failed to secure. It’s possible that Jake Ryan could play MIKE, but so far it seems he was recruited to play Quick end. Kinard has good upside, but he’s a couple years away from contributing. That’s fine because there are other options at weakside linebacker, but an immediate-impact sort would have been nice. Furman is a good player and could play a variety of roles; he reminds me a bit of recent Wisconsin Badger Jonathan Casillas, but with better pass rushing ability.

9Mar 2010
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2010 Recruiting Grades: Defensive End

Jordan Paskorz: Bringin’ sideburns back

Defensive end was one of the biggest needs for the Wolverines in 2010, and just like in the defensive backfield, Rich Rodriguez went after a bunch of them. With defensive MVP Brandon Graham leaving and precious few options to replace him (Ryan Van Bergen will likely slide over from 3-tech defensive tackle), Michigan successfully recruited five players who are headed for either the 5-tech defensive end position (Graham’s slot) or the Quick end (DE/OLB hybrid like Craig Roh).

Technically, four of the five were recruited for the Quick: Jordan Paskorz, Ken Wilkins, Davion Rogers, and Jake Ryan. Only one (Jibreel Black) was expressly recruited to play strongside end. However, I think it’s likely that a few players will filter to either inside linebacker or the 5-tech end.

The first to commit was Paskorz, a 6’3″, 225 lb. Pennsylvanian. Paskorz committed in May of ’09 and not much was heard from him after that. He chose Michigan over some middling offers from Virginia, Bowling Green, and Minnesota, among others. He looks bigger than his listed size, and he lacks the quickness that we’ve seen from the other Quicks who saw significant action in 2009 (Roh and Brandon Herron). I’ve maintained since he was recruited that I think he’ll end up as a strongside end before all is said and done. The Quick doesn’t drop back into coverage a great deal, but Paskorz would be a liability in coverage.

Shortly after Paskorz’s commitment, another Keystone Stater tossed his hat into the ring for the Quick position – Ken Wilkins. Wilkins is 6’3″ and 244 lbs., and there were quotes floating around from his coach that he has like a 30″ waist and a 60″ chest. He’s like a male Barbie doll, except his chest is made from P90X alloy instead of plastic. I might have exaggerated those measurements, but basically, Wilkins isn’t the type of kid who’s going to suffer from weight issues. I think Wilkins has the athleticism and speed to play Quick, but he’s another candidate to move to 5-tech defensive end, as well. (There was a Rivals article mentioning that Wilkins was told he could play 3-tech DT, but I have to believe that was a typo or a misunderstanding.)

Warren, OH, linebacker Davion Rogers flipped from West Virginia to Michigan in mid-January. He’s listed at 6’6″ and 210 lbs., and he mentioned at one point that WVU’s coaches mentioned that he could play safety for them. That comment convinced me that WVU has some coaching woes coming down the pike. Regardless, Rogers changed his mind almost immediately upon receiving an offer from the Wolverines, so he obviously wasn’t gung-ho about being a Mountaineer. Six-foot-six and 210 lbs. might get a wide receiver on the field immediately, but to be a DE/OLB hybrid, Rogers needs to start hitting the supplements.

A day after Rogers committed, Michigan raided Ohio for another linebacker in the form of Jake Ryan, whose 6’3″, 220 lb. frame might make him a body double for Paskorz. Ryan picked Michigan over a handful of MAC schools, but he outperformed Ohio State-bound teammate Scott McVey (perhaps in part to an injury that slowed McVey). He played outside linebacker for St. Ignatius in their 3-3-5 stack defense, so he doesn’t have much practice being an edge rusher. That being said, Ryan is the most likely of these four Quicks to end up as an inside linebacker.

A week after the commitments of Rogers and Ryan, Jibreel Black was the final end to commit. The last of 11 players from Ohio to pledge, Black is a 6’2″, 253 lb. strongside end. He could grow into a defensive tackle, but with the shortage of 5-techs on the roster, I doubt he’ll move inside. Despite not being an extremely highly touted player to all the recruiting sites, his offer list (including Illinois, Michigan State, South Carolina, and Wisconsin) was the most impressive.

Predictions: In my opinion, Jordan Paskorz is headed for a redshirt year, during which he’ll bulk up and become a 5-tech DE; I do not see him contributing in any more than a backup role throughout his career. Wilkins could be a very good player at either position; I think he’ll start off at Quick but eventually play DE. Rogers is almost certainly headed for a redshirt, but his position is perhaps the most defined – he’s a Quick through and through; his athleticism could turn him into a feared speed rusher in the Big Ten, but he has to put on some weight and refine his fundamentals. With the shortage of inside linebackers, I think Jake Ryan might end up at inside linebacker immediately, and I would not be surprised to see him play in mop-up duty this year; the coaches need to groom some guys to take over for fifth-year senior inside linebackers Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh. Black will likely play in 2010 as well, because the depth at strongside end is essentially Van Bergen, redshirt freshman Anthony Lalota, and walk-on Will Heininger.

Grade: B. Despite going after a bunch of highly touted ends, Michigan ended up with 3-stars galore. While a few are headed for solid careers, in my opinion, only one is certain to be a very good player (Black). Luckily, by sheer quantity, at least one or two of the other guys will likely end up as pretty good players. If you can’t get great quality, go for quantity.

21Jan 2010
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Jake Ryan, Wolverine

Everyone smiles when they leave Ohio
Jake Ryan, from St. Ignatius High School in Westlake, OH, committed to the University of Michigan on Sunday. Ryan is a 6’3″, 225 lb. linebacker and Michigan’s ninth defensive commitment of the last ten. He’s rated as a 3-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals.

Ryan’s teammate, Scott McVey, was the more heavily recruited player at St. Ignatius, but Ryan outplayed him during their 2009 season. McVey had an offer from Michigan but chose Ohio State and, thus jinxed by God, suffered nagging injuries as a senior. While McVey played middle linebacker in St. Ignatius’s 3-3-5 stack defense, Ryan mostly played right outside linebacker.

Other schools to offer Ryan included Bowling Green, Toledo, Ohio, and Eastern Michigan. But when he officially visited this past weekend, Rich Rodriguez extended an offer that got accepted almost immediately.

In interviews with Ryan and his high school coach, they have said that Michigan recruited him as outside/rush linebacker. That seems to be in line with the Quick end position, currently manned by rising sophomore Craig Roh. However, that seems odd, considering that no less than four other players in the class of 2010 have been recruited to play Quick at various times: Jordan Paskorz, Ken Wilkins, Antonio Kinard, and Davion Rogers. A recent Rivals article quotes Kinard as saying he’ll play WILL, so that makes a little more sense. And personally, I think Paskorz is better off as a defensive end. But still, I have questions.

Regardless, I think Ryan is best suited for middle linebacker. He seems to do a good job of diagnosing plays and taking good angles toward the ballcarrier. He has a solid frame and could easily play at 240 or 245. He’s reported to run a 4.6 forty yard dash, but I question that time.

Ryan is stiff in the hips. He moves well for a high school linebacker, but he looks like a defensive end who’s playing out of position at outside backer. He does not have great lateral speed, and I do question his tackling ability. Despite a couple highlight films I’ve seen, I haven’t seen a single de-cleater. All of his tackles seem to be him falling on a player who’s already going down or grabbing a runner and letting his 220-225 lbs. drag down the ball carrier. He doesn’t have the aggressiveness I would like to see in a kid that size at the linebacker position, but he was suffering from a wrist injury, so that might have made him a bit tentative.

Ultimately, Ryan is either a Quick linebacker or a MIKE. I’m leaning toward the MIKE position because of the shortage of inside linebackers on the roster, but it won’t surprise me either way. No other player who was recruited for the Quick position has the ability to play middle linebacker, so either Ryan plays there or Michigan better go after some good inside linebackers in 2011.

Image via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.