Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jake Ryan has been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his impressive all-around performance in Saturday's 45-0 blowout of the Illinois Fighting Illini. The sophomore recorded a career-high 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble against a struggling Illinois offense.
Ryan has been a key part of Michigan's defense as it has rounded into shape over the past few weeks. During the Wolverines' first two games against the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Air Force Falcons, they gave up a combined 66 points, but the unit has performed much better ever since.
Over Michigan's past four games, during which it has gone 3-1, the Wolverines defense has allowed just 9.8 points per game, a massive improvement from the first two games. That effort has allowed Michigan to return to the rankings a few weeks after dropping out with a loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Through six games this season, Ryan has recorded 42 tackles and 2.5 sacks.