Name: Rashan Gary
Weight: 283 lbs.
High school: Paramus (NJ) Catholic
Position: Defensive end
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