Past Experience — Ryan was relatively disappointing as a redshirt freshman but quickly transformed into an All-Big East cornerback in his second year off the practice squad.
Ryan's pick-six in the "blackout" victory over Pittsburgh was one of the defining images of the 2011 season and he finished with three picks and 67 tackles for third on the team.
Ryan started every game for the Scarlet Knights and emerged as the playmaker type of cornerback that Devin McCourty was for the program in past years.
As a Recruit — Ryan was a three-star cornerback and rated No. 53 at his position in the South Jersey and Pennsylvania heavy Class of 2009. Though a star quarterback for Eastern (Voorhees, N.J.), Ryan was recruited exclusively as a defensive back and verbally committed to Rutgers in December over offers from Iowa, Michigan State, West Virginia and more.
Spring Performance —Ryan was as advertised and more in the spring. Facing off primarily against the dynamic Brandon Coleman, Ryan emerged as the victor in the majority of 1-on-1 situations. Struggles in the passing game were not all because of poor or inconsistent quarterback play. Impressive coverage skills from Ryan played a big role in locking down receivers like Coleman and Mark Harrison.
Does Well — Ryan does best in press coverage and when used aggressively within the defensive scheme. Ryan is best when he is selectively aggressive. He has the athleticism to recover from mistakes and the instincts necessary to play defense out on the island.
The best cornerbacks are not always the ones that make the most interceptions, but the ones quarterbacks do not even bother throwing in the direction of. That was Ryan facing the Rutgers offense this spring and should be this season against many offenses.
Needs to Improve — A college quarterback can always be better in terms of general consistency. As impressive as Ryan is at times, there were still times when receivers got the better of him for big plays. Without Greg Schiano directly working with the secondary, more pressure is on Ryan, Brandon Jones and Duron Harmon to lead by example.
Long-Term Outlook — An impressive junior season could be enough to sneak Ryan into NFL conversations, but he is not a lock of a prospect going into his junior season like Anthony Davis or Mohamed Sanu.
Ryan has the potential to be the greatest playmaker at cornerback in modern Rutgers football history. Like the McCourty twins and Joe Lefeged, look for Ryan to become more involved on special teams as he matures in the system and improves his conditioning.