Signing Day Capsule: Ryan Van Bergen

The Wolverines found a hidden in gem in West Michigan in Whitehall (MI) DE Ryan Van Bergen. The big and athletic defensive line prospect combines oustanding power and speed with a relentless motor. **Video Included**

Ryan Van Bergen
Defensive End 6-5/250/4.9
Whitehall HS (Whitehall, MI)
NR: **** - Position Rank: 8 Player Video
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His Recruiting Story
Ryan Van Bergen first came to the attention of Michigan coaching staff after an impressive camp performance prior to his junior year.  It was during that session that Wolverine defensive line Coach Steve Stripling saw the upside for the then LB/TE at defensive end.

"That was my first time ever playing the defensive end spot," Van Bergen said.  "That's why I was kind of nervous going into camp. It was a brand new position for me but my coach was having me make that transition for my team in high school. I went in as a d-end and I had never played d-end before. I wasn't the best at the beginning. I had to learn stances and stuff, but I'm really responsive to Coach Stripling's coaching techniques. By the end of the camp I was one of the top 5 or top 10 defensive linemen there with seniors and everything."

After an standout junior campaign in which he registered 59 solo tackles, 32 tackles for loss and seven sacks from his defensive end position) he received offers from Indiana, Purdue, Western, Michigan State, and Miami of Ohio. Then on April 4th after visiting a spring practice he got the offer that he had been waiting for.

"My family was sitting in Coach Carr's office and we talked for about 40 minutes," Van Bergen said. "About 30 minutes into our conversation he told me that he had a scholarship for me. My brother saw me almost pass out (laughing). I went to their summer camp as sophomore going into my junior season and I actually met Coach Carr then. I was the outstanding defensive lineman at the camp. From then on they invited me down to some games. I could tell that they were interested, but that they were going to offer was a complete shock because it never seemed like they were more interested than they were at any other point. I had no clue it was coming. It was way unexpected."

"I did not commit right away because my mom had never seen the facilities down there before," he continued. "It had always been my brother, me, and my dad. After talking to coach Carr and thanking him for the offer, we went down to the new student academic center, which is amazing. I got to meet the professor of psychology, John Hagan. That is what I want to major in. Michigan really rolled out the red carpet in that sort of sense. My mom was really impressed with the academic facilities and the campus. They took her, my dad, and my brother on a tour of the campus while I sat in on a D-line meeting. Coach Stripling introduced me to every single guy there and they all were very welcoming. They gave me the time of day, which was surprising considering the caliber players they were. Then we went to practice and I met up with my mom and dad after they got done with the tour. I told them I was ready to commit and they gave me the thumbs up."

GoBlueWolverine Commentary
Ryan Van Bergen may be the most underrated player in Michigan's 2007 class.  During the 2006 Michigan summer camp, the 6-5, 250-pounder was flat out dominant.  He blew by or overpowered every lineman he faced, finishing with a perfect record in the one-on-one drills.  He has an excellent burst off of the snap, above average strength, and very good speed and change of direction for his size. His most impressive trait is his non-stop motor.  He will definitely be a snap to whistle player for every play that he is on the field.  He has great potential as an edge rusher, but could also slide inside if his services are needed at defensive tackle. He is even versatile enough to project as an offensive tackle or tight end (where he had 20 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns as a junior and 19 receptions for 258 yards and three TDs as a senior).

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