Paramus (NJ) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary committed to Michigan on National Signing Day. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Texas, USC, and everyone else.
Gary is 6’5″, 290 lbs. He claims a 4.86 forty. As a senior in 2015, he made 55 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. As a junior in 2014, he made 51 tackles 16 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. He played in the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
ESPN: 5-star, 94 grade, #1 DT, #1 overall
Rivals: 5-star, #1 DT, #1 overall
Scout: 5-star, #1 DT, #1 overall
247 Sports: 5-star, 100 grade, #1 DT, #1 overall
Hit the jump for more on Gary.
Gary was offered by Michigan during Brady Hoke’s tenure. The Wolverines were strong in his recruitment throughout, even as various other national powers (or ace recruiters) made runs at him. At different times, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss, and USC were all thought to be Michigan’s main competition. It seemed like Michigan would pull him in fairly comfortably until this past weekend, when an official visit to Clemson materialized. Up until that point, Alabama and Clemson were battling for the final official visit of his recruiting process, so most (including me) figured that an uncertain final official meant Michigan would be the hands-down decision. But then buzz started to increase for the Tigers. Truthfully, you can’t blame a kid for looking at Clemson, where they have done a good job of developing talent and winning games lately. However, lots of insiders – and yours truly – kept their picks on Michigan, the long-time leader. It’s difficult to overcome a big lead with one good weekend, but Clemson also pulled off a stunner that would have deflated Michigan fans for a long time.
I did a scouting report on Gary back in May of 2015 (LINK) that summarizes a lot of my thoughts. One thing that I think has been reinforced since then is Gary’s motor. During practices for the Under Armour All-American Game, as well as during the game itself, he earned praises for going hard on every snap. Analysts mentioned how it was rare for such an elite player to have such a strong motor, but that’s a quality Gary has. I also think Gary improved his hand placement from his junior to his senior year.
I am not prone to superlatives, but Gary is a potential #1 NFL Draft pick someday. He is the consensus #1 player in the country, and he has essentially everything one would want in a defensive tackle: size, quickness, speed, strength, technique, intelligence, work ethic, etc. I suppose if you were building a prototype, you might want him to be 310 lbs. or run a 4.6, but realistically, he is as good as you get with high school defensive tackles. I think he can live up to his potential, too, because he seems like a fairly humble kid who does not have some of the characteristics that I question in recruits. His work ethic and motor will potentially let him reach heights that other physically gifted tackles have not been able to reach in the past.
Several weeks ago, I questioned people who said Gary could start at Michigan as a freshman. I did not think that would be the case with the players Michigan would return on the defensive line (Ryan Glasgow, Chris Wormley, Willie Henry, Taco Charlton, etc.). However, Willie Henry declared for the NFL Draft, which left a bit of a hole. Now I think it’s entirely possible that Gary is a starter for Michigan this fall. He could probably play nose tackle eventually if you wanted him to, but he’s more of a 3-tech in four-man fronts or a strongside end in three-man looks.
Gary is the third player to come to Michigan from Paramus (NJ) Catholic in the past three recruiting classes. He joins defensive back Jabrill Peppers (the #3 overall player in 2014) and offensive lineman Juwann Bushell-Beatty, both of whom will be redshirt sophomores this fall. All three players were coached by Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge, who left Paramus last year to become Michigan’s recruiting coordinator. Michigan has also offered several up-and-coming players from the school, including 2017 linebacker Drew Singleton, 2017 defensive end Corey Bolds, and 2018 quarterback Allan Walters. Gary is also the sixth player from New Jersey to join the class, adding to WR Ahmir Mitchell, WR Brad Hawkins Jr., DE Ron Johnson Jr., RB Kareem Walker, and DT Michael Dwumfour.
Gary takes over the title from Peppers as Michigan’s highest-ranked recruit during the modern era. Here’s a link to Michigan’s all-time recruiting rankings (LINK), which have not yet been updated to include the 2016 class, but you can do the math.
TTB Rating: 100 (ratings explanation)