Article on Jake: The Life of Ryan

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 25th, 2012 at 9:19 AM

There is a marvelous free fluff piece over at ESPN by Rothstein entitled (LINK) The Life of Ryan.

Jake Ryan

I thought it would surely have been posted previously, but a simple search shows no link.

Unlike many fluff pieces, Rothstein actually interviews real people back in Westlake, Ohio and at St. Ignatius, his high school in Cleveland, providing previously unknown background material.

There are two important general takeaways from the article.

First, the obvious and yet overlooked truism that recruiting is an inexact science. In Ryan's case, he wasn't really out there until his senior year. From the article:

Jake didn't play much linebacker his junior year at St. Ignatius. An injury left him replaced by a senior at linebacker, leaving Jake to special-teams work. Not many colleges knew about Ryan, and he received his first scholarship offer, from Toledo, only after doing some drills at a camp.

When he returned for his senior season at Ignatius, he had grown 2 inches and gained 20 pounds. And he still hit hard. By the middle of his senior season, when he compiled his own highlight tape in the living room of the family home, including doing the editing himself, he had blossomed.

"You looked at it and it was like, 'Oh, my goodness.' After seeing some of those plays and some of those hits and speed and the way he got after it, that's when I was like 'Here he comes.'"

Here at Michigan, we are looking at all these 2014 & 2015 guys, and sometimes forget that there are incredible guys in the class of 2013 who have been overlooked, or who grew late. It's important to be in on good guys early, but it also is important to remember to look at late bloomers.

Second, it is important to have a good network of alumni and coaches out there getting information about guys like Jake to the coaching staff.

His hard-hitting unorthodox nature caught the eye of a former Ohio Wesleyan football player who lived in the Cleveland are, who called one of his former coaches, Bruce Tall, the defensive line coach at Michigan. He told Tall he needed to stop by Ignatius.

Tall did, and then he went out to his car to call his bosses. "I got right back in the car and said, 'Ooh, boy, I've got to show you a guy,' " Tall said. Soon after, Tall returned to Ignatius with Robinson, and they met with Jake. This was the first big college to show interest in him. On Monday, two days after the offer, Jake committed.

Michigan probably would have never known about Jake Ryan outside of that phone call. The coaches can't see everyone, and guys on the ground who see good players make a huge difference.

If you'd like to find out more about Jake as a kid, and how he comes from a family where his brothers, father, and grandfather all played ball, read the article.



October 25th, 2012 at 11:30 AM ^

"The ball was snapped. Ryan blew into the backfield, picked up the running back and slammed him to the ground. The crowd stopped, not knowing whether to cheer. "Just plants him," recounted John Ryan, a cousin. "Everyone kind of stops because it's flag football, and Jake just lights this kid up." - from the article

It's actually great to know that, even in flag football as a kid, he led the team in tackles for loss. That shows you that this is basically his raison d'etre, if you will, at least on the field I like that in a linebacker.



October 25th, 2012 at 9:55 AM ^

Brady Hoke took a look at him (film maybe) and passed on him when Hoke was at SDSU.  One of the announcers was relaying this during the Mich-MSU game when Ryan make a play.


October 25th, 2012 at 10:16 AM ^

My immediate reaction was "Wait, what.. Denard helped recruit Jake?" Then I realized it was the other Robinson.

That's one positive thing to come out of the GERG era.


October 25th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

He has quickly become my favorite player currently at Michigan.  It really makes you wonder about the nature of recruiting.  I can't wait to see how he develops over the next few years.

The Wolf

October 25th, 2012 at 11:21 AM ^

What I find most interesting is that he appears to (and so far has) thrive with the expectations and pressure of his family's legacy, the "legacy" patch, and the tradition here at UofM.  We should all be thankful for that phone call.


October 25th, 2012 at 12:33 PM ^

Jake Ryan, most interesting man in the world? Really though, he's quickly becoming my favorite player. Can't wait to watch him continue to get better. Crazy to think that he's only a Sophomore. 


October 25th, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

Sucks that his grandpa never got to see him in his first spring game.  I imagine he would be proud based on what I remember from that day.  I thought to myself, oh boy this psychotic white middle linebacker is going to be fun to watch.


October 25th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

You've heard me yell his name for over a year now, This kid's got a great motor and nose for the ball and has been my favorite Michigan defender since the EMU game last year.

He's always around the football making bad things happen for the opposing offense and, good things for the Michigan defense.

"JAKE RYAN!!!!" is that a name made for football or what!


October 25th, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

So Ryan was a Rodriguez recruit technically?  It's too bad Rodriguez isn't still around so I could watch Jake Ryan try to play safety or 3-tech....