It's a natural act for many high school quarterbacks who are asked to perform double duty - go hard on offense and rest on defense.

The quarterback position takes so much out of a player both physically and mentally that sometimes the time spent on defense is looked on as a respite.

For Eastern senior Logan Ryan, that wasn't an acceptable policy. Even though Ryan had to operate Eastern's complex spread offense, when it came time to play cornerback, he never put down his helmet or hard hat.

So instead of running the other way when he saw a sweep coming toward his direction, Ryan would stick his helmet in the middle of the action.

He was a ferocious hitter, and the few times that teams even challenged him in the passing game, he made them pay.

Ryan made an oral commitment to Rutgers in the summer and then performed like a Division I recruit during the high school season.

He had 43 tackles, 31/2 pass breakups, two tackles for loss, and five interceptions. One of those interceptions he took to the house against Cherokee, the No. 3-ranked team in South Jersey.

For his efforts, Ryan has been named The Inquirer's South Jersey defensive player of the year.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Ryan had a simple philosophy on his approach to playing defense.

"We lost a lot of defensive leaders from last year's team, so basically the weight was on me to lead the defensive team," Ryan said. "If I was taking plays off, then I wouldn't have been a good leader."

So he set the tone for the defensive unit that there would be nobody taking any plays off.

A strong cover corner such as Ryan can be among the loneliest people on the football field. That's because opponents often try to stay away from a player of his skills.

So if the teams wouldn't come to Ryan, he and the coaching staff decided he would come to them.

"Based on what we saw on film, I went to where I thought the ball was going," Ryan said.

That meant he often covered the top receiver from the opposing team.

The more Ryan got involved in the defense, the more responsibility he kept asking for from the coaches. And the coaches were more than happy to give Ryan as much responsibility as possible.

"We would put him on the other team's top receiver or where we knew he could cover some ground and we never had to worry about it," Eastern coach Dan Spittal said.

As much emphasis that Ryan put on defense, he also was extremely active and effective as the quarterback.

Ryan threw for 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 699 yards (5.0 average) and nine touchdowns.

What that meant was that Ryan had to be in great physical shape.

"I did a lot of conditioning work getting ready for the season because I didn't want to be tired on either side of the ball," Ryan said.

No, the only thing that got tiresome was when opposing coaches would see Ryan make one big play after another for the 7-3 Vikings.

The teams that did try to challenge Ryan on defense had an ulterior motive.

"Teams would try to run and throw at me to tire me out on offense," he said.

Of course, it didn't work.

Ryan was tireless on both offense and defense, making plays instead of taking any off.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225

or mnarducci@phillynews.com.