2018 Season Countdown: #4 Rashan Gary

Tag: Rashan Gary


26Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #4 Rashan Gary

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

27Nov 2017
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Michigan vs. Ohio State Awards

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Brandon Peters. If Peters were the quarterback in this game, I think Michigan probably wins it. Unfortunately, Peters got concussed against Wisconsin and was still in concussion protocol when the Ohio State game came around. It was the right call for the health of Peters, and I’m glad the medical staff didn’t clear him. But it was unfortunate for Michigan. Hopefully Peters is ready to go for the bowl game.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . John O’Korn. O’Korn didn’t have an absolutely terrible game (17/32, 195 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but he missed a handful of open receivers and threw a really, really, really, really, really bad interception when Michigan was down just 24-20 with a little less than three minutes left. O’Korn took the blame for the loss, and that’s entirely fair. Good for him. But he doesn’t give Michigan a very good chance to win.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Tyree Kinnel. For most of the season, I’ve said I like the defensive rotations. I just want Kinnel to be healthy after it looks like he suffered a concussion when hitting Ohio State receiver Austin Mack.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Jordan Glasgow. As much as I respect the Glasgow family – and even Jordan himself – Michigan has better safeties. Both Kinnel and J’Marick Woods got injured, which forced Glasgow into action late in the game. Hopefully, he can just concentrate on special teams in the bowl game.

Play of the game . . . Donovan Peoples-Jones’s 42-yard punt return. Peoples-Jones made several people miss, accelerated up the sideline, lowered his shoulder, broke a tackle, spun back for extra yards, etc. It was a brilliant return, and it indicated that it would be great if Michigan could find ways to get him the ball more.

MVP of the game . . . Rashan Gary. Naysayers might point to Gary’s missed tackle, which came right after he left the game with a shoulder injury (that seems to have been nagging him for several weeks). It didn’t look great, but bad shoulders can do that to a guy. Even so, he finished the game with 10 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He was Michigan’s best defensive player on Saturday, and nobody on offense had a standout game.

25Nov 2017
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Ohio State 31, Michigan 20

That was a great game plan by Michigan. I’ve complained about the play calling earlier this year – and so have plenty of others – but I have to give credit where credit is due, too. This was the best effort by the offensive coaching staff all season. They showed new formations and broke tendencies left and right. We saw Khalid Hill and Ben Mason lined up at tailback, we saw fullback sweeps, we saw a fake double-screen pop open a tight end, we saw Michigan play with down and distance a bit, etc. I had an issue with a couple play calls, but fewer than most tight games (and there are always going to be questionable play calls). The creativity kept Michigan in the game longer than I expected them to be in it. After all, I predicted a 38-10 loss for the Wolverines, so the gap was 17 points tighter than I thought.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

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29Oct 2017
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Michigan 35, Rutgers 14

Brandon Peters (image via USA Today)

Is it Peters time? The biggest story is obviously the appearance of redshirt freshman Brandon Peters. I said before the game that I didn’t think Peters would play unless John O’Korn got hurt or unless Michigan went up big, and I was wrong. I wasn’t really expecting two fumbled snaps, either. O’Korn was 3/6 for 13 yards and 1 interception before getting yanked for redshirt freshman Brandon Peters in the second quarter. Peters entered the game when it was 7-7, and the offense rattled off 21 unanswered points. He went 10/14 for 124 yards and 1 touchdown in that time. Following the game, Jim Harbaugh said this has been brewing for a couple weeks, and he also told the team on Monday that Peters would get a chance to play in this one. Peters looked outstanding in this game except for a) one slant that might have been a pick-six if safety Kiy Hester didn’t have stone hands and b) a deep crossing route to Sean McKeon that fell short, not because of arm strength but due to misjudging the distance. He’s still finding his way as a player a little bit. His play was encouraging, but O’Korn looked great when he played against Purdue, too. Now that teams have film on Peters, sledding might get a little tougher in the coming weeks.

Hit the jump for some more thoughts on Saturday’s win.

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