Just as the weather warms up, the folks out in Ann Arbor receive some chilling news from the football field. The team’s leading tackler during the 2012 season, linebacker Jake Ryan, suffered an ACL tear during Tuesday’s Spring practice and he is out indefinitely.
“You always hate when anyone gets injured and unfortunately we’ve dealt with our share of injuries in the last 12 months,” said coach Brady Hoke, via College Football Talk. “We will support Jake to make sure he has everything he needs to get through this. I know he will attack his rehabilitation just like he does everything else and will be back when he’s ready.”
As just a sophomore, Ryan collected a total of 88 tackles. His 57 solo tackles were also the most on a Wolverines squad that got better as the season progressed. His stellar 16.5 tackles for a loss tied him for 27th-nationally in that category and he also collected five sacks.
His numbers were good enough for a second-team All-Big Ten selection.
Ryan had obviously been hoping to improve upon those totals and his conference honors (not to mention collecting a national team honor or two, potentially) in his junior year. Losing one of their defensive leaders is a major blow to Hoke and Co. as the team gears up for what is expected to be a massive 2013 campaign.
Hoke trots quarterback Devin Gardner out for a full season, and he is expected to provide the accurate arm and mobility the team needs to make the jump back into the elite.
Losing Ryan for potentially most of the season puts a damper on the hopes for a Big Ten title. Kenny Demens was the team’s second-leading tackler in 2012, and he is lost to graduation. Thus, the team will turn to James Ross III, Joe Bolden and Desmond Morgan to step up and get ready for the year.
Ross and Bolden both looked good in limited time as freshmen in 2012, while Morgan collected a big 81 tackles as a sophomore.
Everyone here at Gamedayr is wishing Ryan a speedy recovery.