January 20, 2010

Linebackers Rogers, Ryan overwhelmed opponents

After stockpiling offensive talent early in the recruiting calendar, Michigan has focused on defense, defense, defense, adding nine defenders among its past 10 commitments, including three-star linebackers Jake Ryan and Davion Rogers

Rogers, 6-6, 210 pounds, made his intentions known Jan. 17 and a day later, the 6-3, 220-pound Ryan declared for the Wolverines. Both recruits could contribute significantly for the Maize and Blue down the road.

"Davion Rogers was a tall, rangy kid that was pretty explosive off the line of scrimmage," Euclid High School head coach Tom Gibbons said. "He obviously has a lot of room to fill out but he could really be a force off the edge as a pass-rush specialist early in his career until he develops into a more well-rounded player."

Euclid was on the losing end of a 35-7 Warren victory, with Rogers and current and future U-M teammate D.J. Williamson playing key roles in the Raiders' victory.

"They had a lot of guys that just worked us over; certainly Rogers was a kid that was busting through our tackles and tight ends all game long to put pressure on the quarterback," Gibbons said. "We couldn't block him consistently."

A bit of an unknown entering his senior year, Ryan had a breakout year, racking up 104 tackles, including 62 solos. He made 26 tackles for loss, including eight sacks, broke up four passes, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble.

For his efforts, Ryan earned a share of the big-school Defensive Player of the Year honor in the Northeast Lakes District. He was also named first-team All-Ohio by the Associated Press and earned a spot on The Plain Dealer's All-Star Team.

"That kid is a darn good football player," Boardman High School head coach D.J. Ogilvie said. "The biggest thing about him was that he was always in the right place, always made the tackle. I don't remember him doing anything spectacular against us, but it felt like the PA announcer kept on saying his name; he must have had 15-20 tackles against us."

Ogilvie's Boardman team lost 17-0 to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the first round of the state playoffs. Ogilvie reviewed a season's worth of film to game plan for Ryan and linebacker teammate Scott McVey, but his strategy proved unsuccessful.

"We thought we could back them off the line of scrimmage by throwing a lot, but that didn't work and when we tried to run the football he just stuffed us every time," Ogilvie said.

"You know, they're both great football players but the kid going to Ohio State [McVey] probably overshadowed Ryan a bit and that's really unfair. I thought he was as good a linebacker if not better and Coach Chuck Kyle at St. Ignatius just raved about him so you know he's pretty special."

Rogers and Ryan became Michigan's 25th and 26th recruits, respectively, and the 13th and 14th defenders to join the Class of 2009.

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