Granting that they're just highlights, not game film, he seems like a relentless and violent player. I hope his athleticism is enough to get him on the field.
Mike Lantry, 1972
Yesterday the Wolverines gained a commitment from OH LB Jake Ryan from Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, a traditional power in Ohio's largest high school division.
|2*, #113 OLB||3*, NR OLB||NR, not in database|
Before everyone starts freaking out, I'm going to go ahead and warn you: this kid is a sleeper. Like, a deep, deep sleeper. He barely even exists in the eyes of many talent evaluators, though some have been quick to admit they simply missed the boat on him. Now, let's dive into the evaluations.
We start with Rivals, whose Greg Ladky caught him in a scrimmage against Twinsburg (alma mater of Sapce Emperor Zoltan Mesko) this fall:
LB-Jake Ryan- St. Ignatius- Ryan may end up being a defensive end at the next level. His 6-foot-3 listing may be a actually be a bit short. He looks like he is in tremendous shape, and made a few nice tackles on defense. He has the size and range to be a force for St. Ignatius this year, teaming with McVey to form a strong and mean linebacker corps.
The general scuttlebutt is that Ryan may be a bit taller than 6-3. Ladky seems to think so. Interesting to see that he may be considered a potential defensive end even if Michigan's coaches aren't likely to share that opinion. Good range is a plus in coverage, but the Wolverines' linebacker commits over the past couple years have had plenty of range, it's the size that's new and exciting. The McVey in question there is OH LB Scott McVey, an Ohio State commit who was in and out of the lineup with injuries this year.
Ryan managed to make 1st-Team All-State as a linebacker, and he's listed at 6-5 on that list. On the Scout message boards (take with a grain of salt, of course), "CatFan93" who says he's been involved with Ignatius football for more than 30 years, says the following about Ryan:
Ryan was Ignatius' best defensive player this year by a wide margin. Jake had a great year and has an excellent frame at 6'3 225#, he is a big strong kid that can run in the high 4.5s, he is a very athletic kid. Versatile athlete that played FB this year, some TE in the past and also excelled on KO and PR coverage
To this point, I have been perplexed by his offer sheet, which is essentially every team in the MAC conference. He is far better than a MAc player, I would have expected his offer sheet would read something like Boston College, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Virginia, Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Louisville, etc at this point.
That said, i think this is a stretch offer for UM. Jake is a B10 talent, just but not a Big 4 [UM, OSU, ND, PSU] talent IMO. While he possesses good speed, he doesnt possess the lateral sideline to sideline speed that I would want to see at an elite BCS school. Watch his film, when he is making plays near the sidelines, often times it is after someone has already turned the play back inside.
That's not a exactly ringing endorsement, but it's pretty positive. Maybe you can see some Ohio State fandom bleed into the assessment in the contradictions: a 225 pound, 6'3" high school kid running in the high 4.5s has plenty of speed to play middle linebacker, and the youtube highlight reel shows him tracking down guys from Glenville wide. In any case, at this point in the recruiting cycle it's good to pick up a guy who would fit in just fine at Iowa at a position of need. He doesn't have to be a four star to be a much better option than Michigan's other underclass middle linebackers: air and walk-ons.
CatFan also sheds a little light on Jake's sleeper status:
One need only look at junior year tape to compare McVey v Ryan. Jake was a starter for 6-7 games his junior season before he got injured. Not a rap on Jake's abilities, but McVey was just head/shoulder above...It has been a long time since I have seen a LB have the kind of season that McVey did last year.
The recruiting types could look at Ryan and see a higher ceiling because of the better frame, maybe they are right...but as long as Scott's shoulder heals - and everything I hear is positive in that regard, there is no question which one I would rather have on my football team...
So, I guess the cliff notes version is that Scott McVey is an amazing high school prospect, and Jake Ryan is just OK. The junior injury helps explain Ryan's low profile, and McVey's senior injury might explain why Ryan was named St. Ignatius's best linebacker at the team banquet.
Again with the sleeper talk. Ryan had scholarship offers from mostly MAC-type schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Central and Eastern Michigans, Ohio, and Toledo. He took visits to Ball State, OU (not that OU), and Toledo prior to this weekend's Ann Arbor visit.
On that visit, Rich Rodriguez and company decided that his film was good enough to warrant an offer, which he accepted today. There have been rumors that he's a Patrick Omameh-style sleeper, with Ohio State coming on strong very late. In that case, it's a heck of a steal.
St. Ignatius finished the 2009 season 11-1 with wins over talented teams like Glenville, Massillon Washington, St Xavier, and Inkster, whose quarterback is some guy you may have heard of. The lone loss was a 13-30 defeat in a playoff rematch with the Tarblooders of Glenville.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells us his stats for the year (and also provide the picture up top):
Ryan used his outstanding pass-rushing technique to register a team-leading 104 tackles for the Wildcats with 62 solos, 26 tackles for loss, eight sacks, eight quarterback hurries, four deflected passes and two fumble recoveries.
For those who disagreed with my assessment from his video the other day, it's "used his outstanding pass-rush technique" that bothers me: as a middle linebacker, he's going to have to do a whole lot more than rush the QB. Maybe he has another highlight video that shows him doing other stuff, but I haven't seen it.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists his 40 time as 4.6. That's your average linebacker time (listed, perhaps not accurately), and his highlight videos show that he has good closing speed. With very little to suggest he's not a very good athlete, I would give this 40 time just two FAKEs out of five.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Michigan is thin, thin, thin at middle linebacker. The synopsis for this guy is that he's in good shape, and would be accurately listed somewhere around 6-4 and 210 pounds. That's a little on the smallish side but with the depth chart, he will be forced into spot duty as a freshman as a backup and on special teams. The company line on traditionally-powerful Catholic schools is that their players come out well-coached, so he won't be overwhelmed. Ryan actually, you know, played linebacker in high school—a rarity on Michigan's roster—and that should help ease his transition.
During that year, he'll hopefully be able to develop physically, adding muscle without any bad weight, and be the primary backup to JB Fitzgerald or Kevin Leach(!) as a true sophomore. After that, he won't put on more bulk unless he is just too slow for linebacker.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Ryan takes the second-to-last slot in the recruiting class assuming no further attrition. That leaves just one spot left, and it would take a serious upset for that spot to go to anyone other than a safety. The remaining options at that position are CA S Sean Parker, FL S Rashad Knight, and longshot FL S Demar Dorsey (a soft Florida commit) in order from most to least likely.
Michigan may also grayshirt an incoming prospect, and there could be another kid or two who leaves the recruiting class for some reason or another. In that instance, Michigan would try to grab two of the safeties, or the best option at safety and one lineman if they can find a good one.
Granting that they're just highlights, not game film, he seems like a relentless and violent player. I hope his athleticism is enough to get him on the field.
Could not have been more prescient?
So he's a sleeper, but then again, so was Alaska-Fairbanks Demon Polar Bear of Death.
When playing "Sleeper/No Sleeper" I'll defer to the coaches. It's above my paygrade. I like the offer.
If, at the end of the day, he plays his nuts off, pushes the guy in front of him, contributes on special teams and gives you good minutes as a back-up, he'll be worth the scholarship.
I've been struggling with the sleeper/no sleeper conundrum for a while. It seems so circular to me that a kid who's not Michigan-level talent is upgraded to sleeper when he commits to Michigan, yet remains "just MAC talent" if he ends up at a MAC school.
You have a pretty simple solution though, and I like it: deference.
Uh, that's what a sleeper is: someone who only 1 (or very few) bigtime school was interested in.
Or someone who ends up at a bigtime school despite recruiting services ranking him low.
But to truly be a sleeper doesn't he have to exceed his expectations? A 2* and low 3* kid who is overlooked by most big schools, ends up at the one big school that took a chance on him, and amounts to nothing is not a sleeper in my mind. That's a shot that missed. If the same kid ends up being a regular starter and contributor to the team, then that kid a would define to as a sleeper. So hindsight plays a big role in the determination of a sleeper, at least in my opinion.
Then why would you indicate above that his "sleeper" status should mitigate people freaking out?
He totally was a sleeper.
That's easy to say now. Would he have been half as good playing mlb in a Rodriguez 3-3-5? I doubt it. At the time there wasn't anything public that indicated he would be better than his rankings.
I imagine it has to be tough for them to recruit ILBs without a LB coach at the moment. Kudos for still landing someone with potential.
I hadn't put the two together. Slipped my mind. Good point.
I can't wait for Mike Barwis to get ahold of this kid... That goes for every recruit we have, while not all top ranked, we have a bunch of hungry sleepers, most of whom will do anything Mike Barwis says. That helps!
I know I've seen others mention this before, but I love that even though many players in our recruiting class are considered to be sleepers, the vast majority of these "sleepers" still performed well enough to earn All-State honors. In many cases these seem like the type of kids who can flat-out play, regardless of their size or measurables. I'd rather take a class full of eager overachievers than talented malcontents.
Though I am oversimplifying brutally.
but the staff seems to be brining in high quality football players. Yes these kids are physically gifted but after seeing highlight film and reading interviews and quotes these kids seem to be hungry, love the game, and will play hard every down.
I dont get the sense that any of them are primadonas(sp?) or think they are above the team.
But I knew what you meant, for all intensive purposes.
*and as a bonus*
"intents and purposes"
That is all.
You've been had... [At least I hope so!]
I sort of hope so, too.
Thanks, AAL. I wasn't joking either, poor English teachers I guess. I'll use my English 125 GSI as my escape goat.
My GSI really taught me how to write good.
I think that he can definitely get some PT his sophomore year when he bulks up. I really like the sleepers we have this year. The way the coaching staff finds sleepers before any other school does is great and really adds to the depth of the team.
of Ryan giving that baby-face smile to Barwis and Barwis subsequently eating him like a snake eating a deer.
I find that image mildly disturbing... must be why I like it!
How many times can you fit the word sleeper into a post Tim? I thought sleepers generally had something about them that would cause them to be overlooked. Being All-Ohio for St. Ignatius played half his junior and all his senior year doesn't exactly lend itself to that.
And I don't mean to take anything away from the recruit, or the author. But generally speaking, what exactly is the difference between a "sleeper" and a kid who has low rankings because he really isn't that good?
I'm not ripping on anyone, and I mean this question to be general, not specific to any one recruit: But where's the difference between the two? Does a low recruit automatically become a sleeper when a bigger team signs him? Is the three star recruit who goes to Michigan a sleeper, while the one who goes to a MAC school is just "MAC talent?"
Not sure, it's all very subjective. I like your answer though.
would be a late-bloomer. To take the analogy to its fullest, a sleeper is any player who does not get a lot of attention and then "wakes up". With Ryan growing and maturing recently, and having keeping in mind his junior year injury, he may just have been a lot better this year than last and as a group that follows recruiting very closely, we all know that the major recruits are found during their sophomore and junior years.
Maybe his guru ratings are low because he appears to be no more than 10 years old.
Needless to say, hope he proves them wrong.
Seriously -- he and Vinopal, with those buzz cuts, look like something you'd see in a Boy's Life fishing / hunting story from 1961. It's easy to imagine them cruising around in a '57 Chevy with short-sleeved plaid shirts.
chopper. sick balls.
The only thing I wish his highlights would have shown more, is him in coverage. That's my only real concern with him at this point, as most of his film shows him blitzing.
People didn't like it for whatever reason the last time, but I'll say it again: I think he's a DE. He is big and fast. Explosive and strong. But athleticism is about body control and he frequently looks wobbly, for lack of a better word. A Mike has to be able to change direction efficiently both against the run and in zone coverage and I can't see him being able to do that. That could change with greater lower body strength (maybe). DE is the only position I could see him growing into and being effective down the road.
I am not an expert on Michigan's prospects with remaining available players, but don't take this for granted: if Michigan was playing with walk-ons last year, imagine how poor of a look they were getting in practice from whomever comprised the scout team. I have college coaching friends who frequently comment about "improving the bottom 20%." Maybe the coaches believe he could contribute much later, but if they *know* he's a tough kid and decent Div. 1 player who will stick it out no matter what that's an asset to the Michigan program right now.
Sleepers are usually guys that bloom late. This looks like a guy who missed the critical time for a recruit (junior year) because of an injury.
It used to happen in basketball all the time. A kid would miss the camp-circuit and no one would know about him. Usually, a strong senior season and a concerted effort by the coach would get the kid back on the radar and someone would get a nice prospect without having to fight off a dozen other programs. The omnipresence AAU ball has largely ended this from happening.
BTW, I've never seen this guy play. He could completely suck. BUT...the presence of a highly-recruited upperclassmen and the untimely injury certainly gives credence to the notion that he just got lost in the shuffle.
Unless you're referring to the world before the Material Girl or Jesus' mama...it's prima donna.
you need to recalibrate your humor meter... That was one of the funnier comments I've seen in a while, with "intensive purposes" as the kicker. Positively deranged.
[At least I presume it was a joke -- the alternative is sad, sad, sad, which is why it is so funny.]
Louis Delmas was a two star (rivals), and a Mac talent. He had a pretty decent career at Western Michigan, and an adequate rookie season with those Detroit Lions.
How is pointing out a Mac recruit that had great success a negative point? I am new, I know, but someone explain me this system, thanks! I really like the people here too!
In general, higher ranked classes have a strong positive correlation with success on the field. There are exceptions (Mike Hart and Braylon Edwards) are often thrown out there as proof that rankings dont matter.
Yes, you can find late bloomers and numerous examples of 3 star and lower players having stellar College and even NFL careers, but the notion that lower rankings portend great things will not find a sympathetic audience here.
Look at the teams that play in the BCS title games: Florida, OSU, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, LSU, Alabama. They are always ranked high in the recruiting rankings. These schools aren't loading up on 3 stars and filling in their classes with some 4 stars. They load up on 4 stars and fill out their classes with 5 stars and 3 stars.
Heck, in the history of the BCS there has probably been only two schools to reach the title game that weren't great at recruiting - Virginia Tech (who does a fairly solid job year in and year out) and Nebraksa.
There's a couple of reasons why OSU has dominated the big ten lately. Jim Tressell is a good coach, and just as important, if not more so, Tressell is a heck of a recruiter. Just about everytime OSU steps on the field in the big ten, they have the more talented team. Over the last 5 years they've gone something like 36-4 in big ten play.
There is correlation, but it is not outcome determinative. Most of the BCS championship teams have coaching continuity, depth at each position, a high starting poll position and luck. Recruiting is a necessary, but insufficient, factor. Things like recruiting and winning championships can rarely be boiled down to such simple cause/effect relationships.
How's their recruiting been of late?
That's because rankings don't matter, they're simply a guide. I can also find 5/4 STAR busts too, but whatever, the topic at hand is Jake Ryan, who wasn't a 5/4 star recruit, so, yeah. Remember that.
which you are free to disagree with (if you don't mind being on the other side of facts) is that there is extensive evidence, 99% of it pointing in only one direction, which is that recruiting ratings matter. It has been posted and linked to many times on this site, by Brian and other posters, and incorporates many different sources. The fact is that ratings correlate nicely with team and individual success. They represent correlation, not causation, which is why we see low rated successes and highly rated busts. But the evidence is in, and it points in only one direction. Do a search for recruiting rankings on the site, and you should find at least 4 different pieces of data that prove your first sentence incorrect.
They never become any good? Getting good players is more important than getting good rankings, though I will agree that they sometimes go hand in hand, but 99% of the time - lol, okay, and I have been all over this site for over two years now, just now starting to post.
There are exceptions to every rule. There are hundreds of 2 and 4 star players every year, some of them become all americans, and most of them go nowhere. Some 5 star players are busts, but a quite high percentage of them are drafted. Trust me, this is science.
As for your TCU and Cincinnati comment: (Boise St. would be a better example) there are often teams that succeed without having a high level of recruiting. This, again, is the exception to the rule. However, there are very few examples of teams in major conferences who have regular success without solid to outstanding recruiting. Iowa and Wisconsin are close, but they have both had a hard time getting over the hump as well. Conversely, there are very few teams who have recruited very well and not had national level success (ND is probably the only exception to this rule).
This might help people. The ratings services assign stars based on expectations. I believe 5 star means NFL level talent, 4 star all conference type performer and 3 star means impact player. Our problem is not so much star ratings, as a lack of a number of people generally and people who perform at their expected levels. Obi performed last year like he deserved no stars even though he was a 3 star guy. David Harris, on the other hand, performed like a 5 star even though he was only a 3 star guy. Omameh is a potential starter next year and he was a 2 star. A team with a lot of highly ranked talent should, but will not necessarily, perform well. A team without it should not, but can, perform well. Again, there is a correlation, but not causation. Recruiting is art and science, which should be obvious, since you cannot recreate success through recruiting alone. Your mention of ND proves my point. It's not that ND is an exception to the rule, it's that the rule isn't valid in a vacuum. High talent produces great results only in connection with great coaching, a good schedule and some luck. What ND lacked, and there are many examples, wasn't 5 star recruits, but competent coaching. On the other hand, RR's WVU teams demonstrate that average talent with excellent coaching and schemes can produce national title caliber teams. No one on RR's teams besides Noel Devine was a 5 star. White and Slaton were 3 stars. There are myriad other examples. This isn't as cut and dry as it seems. Good recruiting to me means more than star ratings, it means getting the right guys and the right number of guys depending on what your team needs and what your schemes call for. If you aren't running a pro-style attack, what does it matter that you have a 5 star road grader right tackle? It's helpful, but if you aren't running downhill all of the time, it isn't really critical to your success.