I've heard a couple people bust out the comparison of Jake Ryan to Clay Matthews, and there was a discussion in the defensive UFR about future NFLers on our roster. On the surface, the comparison seems fair: Matthews is a hybrid linebacker/pass rusher, who gets into the backfield a lot. You could say the same about Ryan. And of course, the flow is strong in both of them. Obviously, their skill levels are far apart right now, but do we have the next Clay Matthews? I did some research to see.
|Height||Weight||40 yard dash|
|Matthews||6'3"||255 (he weighed in at 240 at the combine)||4.67|
|Ryan||6'3"||242||HS profile says 4.6 (probably at least 4 FAKES out of 5)|
I was actually surprised by this. For some reason, I thought Ryan was undersized. But it looks like Ryan has the build. If he plays through his senior year, he'll probably graduate around 250-260 lb.
|Matthews (Source: USC archives)|
|2005 (RS FR)||12||8 (4 solo)||0||0||0||0||0|
|2006 (RS SO)||13||15 (9 solo)||1.5 (-9)||1||0||0||0|
|2007 (RS JR)||13||17 (15 solo)||3 (-23)||0||2||0||0|
|2008 (RS SR)||13||56 (28 solo)||9 (-59)||4.5||2||2||0|
Interestingly enough, Matthews was an unheralded walk-on at USC. He really only played special teams in his first 3 seasons (though he excelled at that, winning USC's Co-Special Teams Played of the Year in both 2006 and 2007), and wasn't awarded a scholarship until 2006. And it wasn't until his senior season when he started to get consistent time at linebacker. He played alongside Brian Cushing and Ray Mauluga; talk about a scary defense. (Source, Wikipedia.)
|Ryan (Source: MGoBlue)|
|2011 (RS FR)||13||37 (20 solo)||11 (-53)||3||1||2||0|
|2012 (RS SO)||7||52 (34)||8.5 (-45)||3.5||2||0||0|
Jake Ryan has just been nuts this year. He's already surpassed almost all of his numbers from last year... in half the number of games played.
Ryan may turn out to be nothing like Clay Matthews. That's certainly a difficult level of performance to attain. And with the contributions he's already made to the program, I would be just fine with that. But he's got the frame, he's been putting together some nasty numbers... and he's got the flow!
What do you think?