2018 Season Countdown: #4 Rashan Gary

2018 Season Countdown: #4 Rashan Gary

August 26, 2018

Rashan Gary (image via USA Today)

Name: Rashan Gary
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 283 lbs.
High school: Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Position: Defensive end
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #3
Last year: I ranked Gary #2 and said he would be the starting Anchor (LINK). He made 65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
TTB Rating: 100

Gary had an excellent season in 2017. He was named First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches and Second Team by the media. His best career game came against Ohio State at the end of the regular season, when he made 7 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He has versatility to play inside and out, and it’s rare that other teams can get the best of him. His season-long performance was good enough to win him the Richard Katcher Award for the team’s best defensive lineman or outside linebacker.

You’re probably wondering why the former #1 recruit in the country and an All-Big Ten guy is sitting at #4 on my list, and that’s fair. But keep in mind that this list is about importance, not talent. Gary will be the starting Anchor once again in 2018, without a doubt. The big question is what’s behind him. The Wolverines have been grooming junior Carlo Kemp over the past couple seasons to play strongside end or 3-tech, and Michigan has also moved sophomore Kwity Paye to strongside end. Defensive line coach Greg Mattison has always done a great job of developing his players, and Michigan can replace Gary with a solid college player. That’s not necessarily the case with the three players remaining on the countdown. On top of all that, Gary has been very good but not outlandishly productive. (For a comparison, Gary’s 16.5 career TFLs and 6.5 sacks are well behind Ohio State Buckeye Nick Bosa’s 23 TFLs and 13.5 sacks over the same time period.) Gary is a very good player, but the team would miss him less than a few other guys. I expect this to be his final season in Ann Arbor.

Prediction: Starting Anchor; 60 tackles, 7 sacks; First Team All-Big Ten


  1. JC
    Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Aug 26, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    I gotta put Gary above Winovich.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 1364
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 26, 2018 at 6:33 PM

    We really need Gary to be better. “Very good” is not good enough for a guy as hyped as he was. Yeah, the NFL is all ga-ga over him, but he has not been a dominant, generational talent for us so far.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 82
      Joined: 1/10/2017
      Aug 26, 2018 at 7:56 PM

      Who cares how *hyped* he was? (Oh, wait, _you_ do.)

      Is he playing up to his true potential? Maybe not, but that’s all that should matter here.

      • Avatar
        Comments: 1364
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Aug 26, 2018 at 9:48 PM

        Everybody on every Michigan chat board cared how hyped he was when we signed him, dude. He was touted as the best defensive line prospect in a decade, but he hasn’t lived up to that. He’s been a very good player, but no better than all-conference caliber. Not All-American and certainly not a generational talent. To compete at a national championship level, we need him to be better.

  3. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 26, 2018 at 11:32 PM

    Interesting discussion re: a hypothetical backup/replacement if Gary missed multiple games.

    This might be overly simplistic but I look at weights. Gary is 283. Wormley was north of 290. Anchor isn’t far off a DT and that’s where a lot of coaches would put those guys.

    I don’t see Paye (260) or Hutchinson (268) as viable replacements yet. Situational – OK, but not every down. Not when the other 3 DL starters run 285, 285, and 255.

    Maybe someone will dig up what Don Brown’s BC defense ends weighed – but if Gary went down for multiple games I’d guess they either change the entire scheme to run mostly 3-man fronts or move back Kemp (280) or Marshall (285) to end.

    Regardless, losing Gary for any extended period would be devastating and season-altering.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Aug 26, 2018 at 11:33 PM

    My opinion is this:

    Gary was excellent last year. He probably deserved to win that award over Hurst, Winovich, Bush and everyone else. Can’t measure DL by stats. I would have guessed Hurst was our best front 7 guy but I bet Michigan Football knows more about Michigan football than me.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 27, 2018 at 6:38 AM

      Saying “Can’t measure DL by stats” is rather simplistically dismissive. If a guy like Gary isn’t getting sacks, TFLs, QB pressures, QB hurries, what is he doing out there? Containing plays so that other guys can make tackles? Is that how you use a guy who was supposed to be the best DL prospect in 1o years?

  5. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 263
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Aug 26, 2018 at 11:43 PM

    The coaches have been hyping up his work ethic this off season. Hopefully, that is just not blowing smoke. Gary will be a top draft prospect no matter what, but he needs to rev his motor up a little to be a force in college. He made strides last year, after flat out taking plays off as a FR. Hope he takes a similar step this year, kind of like Taco did as a senior.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1364
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Aug 27, 2018 at 6:32 AM

      I always worry a little when coaches play up a guys “work ethic”. Not that that’s a bad thing, but if it’s the main thing you’re hyping about a player, that’s not always a good sign.

  6. Blue in NC
    Comments: 49
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Blue in NC
    Aug 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM

    I believe that, as a true junior, Gary is our best defensive player, and maybe best player period. While his tackes and TFLs were good but not off the charts, his QB hurries were significant and he played very well. In my mind, he is a better all around player than Bosa even if the pass statistics are lower.
    Yes, I am expecting All-America status but keep in mind that DL in college football right now is loaded. I believe he will take a step up and his statistics will be improved.

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