Switch To MLB Pays Off For Ryan

Jake Ryan's position switch has led him to a strong senior season and awards nominations.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This spring, fifth-year senior Jake Ryan was asked to switch the middle linebacker for the first time in his U-M career. A career outside linebacker, Ryan made the switch willingly, and it’s a good thing he did – because it’s paying off for him and the U-M defense on the field this season.

After a rocky start, Ryan has had a season to remember for the Wolverines’ defense. Entering Saturday’s game at rival Ohio State, he leads the team with 104 tackles and two forced fumbles this season. He also has 13.0 tackles for loss with 2.0 sacks.

His production on the field is being noticed nationally, too.

On Monday, Ryan was named one of five finalist for the Butkus award, which is given annually to the nation’s best linebacker.

“It’s flattering for him to be up for that,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said of Ryan. “ I think it also something they made a good decision with and a right decision. His development and his time here. His development just in a year playing inside. I think that is something we’re real proud of.”

Against the Buckeyes, he’ll have his last chance to impress voters before the winner is announced on Nov. 24th. It will also give Ryan a chance to extend his double-digit tackles streak from five to six games.

Currently, Ryan is tied for first in the Big Ten with 46 solo tackles during conference games. He is also second in the Big Ten and tied for 28th in the nation in tackles per game with his average of 9.5.

Michigan (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) plays at No. 6 Ohio State (10-1, 7-0) this Saturday at noon.

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