The talented Ryan, a 6-foot, 186-pound cornerback, will make his Rutgers debut against Norfolk State on Thursday (7:30 p.m.) at Rutgers Stadium, and he will do so in much better position to succeed than if he played last season.
"The biggest thing, I think, is mentally, being able to play with these guys," Ryan said in discussing the positives of red-shirting. "They're a very fast defense, and (Ryan learned to) be able to keep up with them and do my job under pressure.
"‘Chop through chaos' is our motto, so being able to ‘Chop through chaos' better than I have before is what the year has taught me the most."
Ryan is considered one of the Scarlet Knights' standout corners of the future.
In training camp he competed with senior Brandon Bing for a starting spot, but as for now he will play as a backup and in specific packages. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said after Saturday's practice is was likely Bing and David Rowe would start at the corner positions.
"I think I'll play a good amount because the coaches have me penciled in at a lot of good spots," Ryan said. "So, I'll definitely be making an appearance is all goes well."
Certainly, Ryan still has plenty to learn, but he made big strides in camp. He performed well in coverage and increased his physical play.
"I think I covered receivers very well during camp," Ryan said. "Physically, in run support, I thought I improved tremendously in that, but I still have to improve in that and covering. But (run support), that was something I needed to improve on.
"You can always do more in beg physical, but I thought I did a decent job and I'm looking to improve."
The nerves haven't hit Ryan yet, but he believes they will as kickoff creeps closer.
"I haven't thought about it much until this week and it's all starting to hit me," he said. "It's my first time playing in front of these great fans. I'm going to try and keep everything under control and do my job. I'm not trying to waste what I've been preparing for so long."