In what has been an otherwise forgettable season for the Michigan football team, senior linebacker Jake Ryan has been a bright spot.
Ryan was named Monday as one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, which honors the nation's best linebacker. He is joined by UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Washington's Hau'oli Kikaha, Denzel Perryman of Miami (Fla.), and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith.
Ryan leads Michigan (5-6) with 104 tackles, including 13 for loss and a pair of sacks. He also has three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception. He ranks second in the Big Ten with an average of 9.5 tackles per game and is second in the conference in total tackles for loss. He has five games this season in which he registered double-digit tackles.
The only other Michigan linebacker to win the award was Erick Anderson in 1991. The winner will be announced Dec. 9.
Michigan concludes its regular season Saturday at No. 8 Ohio State.