But after a disappointing season, which the Wolverines finished 7-6, Michigan coach Brady Hoke decided his team needed a new method of selecting their team captains.
On Monday, Hoke made it public that Michigan will vote on its team captains after they play at rival Ohio State on Nov. 29. A decision Hoke made back in February, and in March he told Ryan and a few other select upper classman he would making the change to the new format.
“He just brought me to side and said ‘we’re going to do a little something different this year,'” Ryan recalled.
“I was one of the first guys to know, cause I was a captain last year. But he said he’s done it before, so it worked before. I’m just excited for what it brings. Will see what happens with it.”
Ryan, who is entering his fifth year senior season at Michigan, says nothing has changed from his perspective, and he still views himself as one of the leaders of the team.
“There is a ton of leaders on this team,” said Ryan, who slated to start at middle linebacker this season. “Just being a retuning captain I got to take that role. Be a returning leader. But I think it’s going to be cool, it’s a different thing to do.”
While Ryan will have to wait 12 games to know his captainship in 2014, he still holds being named captain his junior season as one of biggest life achievements.
“It’s huge for me,” Ryan said of being named captain in 2013. “Tom Brady came in and talked to us. He told us it was one of the biggest accomplishments of his life. Being chosen by your fellow teammates is a huge deal. You got to fulfill that role, every single day you got to come in and work and do what you got to do.”
And while Ryan knew since March of Hoke’s plan, he still never let the secret out to fellow teammates.
“It’s a team thing,” Ryan said. “Being a captain last year, I got to keep that role.”
Michigan opens its season this Saturday at home versus Appalachian State.