Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan has been cleared to play against Penn State this weekend, although whether or not he actually plays depends on him, Brady Hoke announced in a press conference on Monday.
Ryan had previously been rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered during spring practice. Hoke said that the concern with Ryan lies in whether or not he's back to full strength and ready for game action.
Hoke on Jake Ryan: "Jake will be the last line" on a decision as to whether or not he'll play.— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziBlade) October 7, 2013
Still, part of Hoke's noncommittal attitude toward Ryan's actual availability this weekend is likely due to competitive reasons -- by leaving that up in the air, Penn State will have to prepare for both possibilities.
He has, however, been raring to go for a while now.
Hoke: "He wanted to play last week. He wanted to play the week before."— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziBlade) October 7, 2013
Ryan's return will give a huge boost to a defense that already ranks ninth in the country against the run and 13th overall without him. Ryan led Michigan with 88 tackles last season, to go with five forced fumbles and 16.5 tackles for loss. Fifth-year senior Cameron Gordon and junior Brennen Beyer have been splitting time in his absence.