Ex-UM player Jake Ryan named Tillman Award recepient

The Detroit News

Former Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan, a two-time captain, has earned the Pat Tillman Award at the East-West Shrine Game.

Ryan and Michigan teammate Devin Gardner have been practicing for the bowl this week and will play in today's game. Both were named Shrine Bowl captains.

The Pat Tillman Award is presented to the player who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship and service.

Greg Mattison, who spent the last four seasons as Michigan's defensive coordinator and was close with Ryan, said his former linebacker was deserving.

"His character this week leading up to the East-West Shrine Game is the same character he exemplified his entire career at the University of Michigan, and that is why we are confident he will have tremendous success at the next level," Mattison said in a statement.

Ryan led Michigan last season with 112 tackles and was a Dick Butkus Award finalist for the nation's top linebacker. He was voted the team's most valuable player.

"I am truly humbled to receive this award," Ryan said in a statement. "What makes it more special is the person for whom it is named. Pat Tillman is an American hero who turned down millions of dollars to protect our country. This award honors Pat's courage, passion for the game, and his willingness to help others. It is an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence."