The number one overall recruit in the 2016 class, Paramus (NJ) Catholic DT Rashan Gary, announced his commitment to Michigan on ESPN this afternoon. Gary had long favored the Wolverines, who held off the likes of Clemson, Ole Miss, and USC to secure his signature.
The impact here is two-fold. Jim Harbaugh landed a Signing Day commit of the highest caliber and visibility, which can only help the program in future recruitments of elite players, especially those in New Jersey. Then, of course, there's Gary's on-field impact, which should be considerable from the moment he steps on campus.
5*, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
5*, 94, #1 DT,
5*, 100, #1 DT,
5*, #1 DT,
HE'S PRETTY GOOD, YOU GUYS.
In addition to being the unanimous choice for top overall recruit, Gary is college-sized already; he's listed at 6'4", 286 pounds on the low end (Scout) and 6'5", 293 on the high end (247). I believe the latter figure has been updated more recently.
[Hit THE JUMP for WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO]
Let's start, as usual, with Scout's free evaluation:
EvaluationGary is a mix of power, speed, athleticism and explosion. He has great speed and his ability to chase a play down are exceptional. He ran a 4.74 in the 40-yard dash at The Opening in July, and he plays fast. He can use his strength to overpower an offensive lineman, he has a tremendous change of direction and his explosion is off the charts. -- Brian Dohn
Areas to Improve
- Disengaging Skills
- Techniques and Moves
Gary was already a big-time recruit by the time he went to The Opening last summer. After a dominant performance there, 247 moved him up to the #1 overall spot and compared him favorably to a former five-star and NFL Rookie of the Year:
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive lineman Rashan Gary is everything you want out of an elite defender. He's coachable, plays with effort and intensity, he's one of the best athletes in this class and he's versatile. Gary is now the No. 1 player in the country on 247Sports and he's been given a franchise rating of 101. That puts him on par with the ratings of Robert Nkemdiche in 2013, Myles Garrett in 2014 and Trent Thompson in 2015. To me, Gary is a Sheldon Richardson clone but he's further along in the same stage of development.
247 since moved Gary back to a 100 grade; if he's stuck at 101, a grade they don't hand out every year, he'd have been in very good company. Still, what he did to five-star OT Greg Little in that event is difficult to forget:
Yes, he one-arm bull-rushed a 305-pound five-star. Successfully. Very successfully.
Former Cal OL Todd Huber, the OL/DL player personnel director for The Opening, told Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman that Gary's performance was the best he's seen in the five-year history of the camp:
"I think he lost only three reps out of the 23 or 24 he had the entire week," said Huber. "With Rashan, he was so dominant and I know a lot of people look at his size and just see him as a D-tackle, but I think he can be as effective as a D-end or inside. There are no holes in his game. He doesn't take plays off. He has a great first two steps. He has incredible bend coming off the edge. He moves like (former five-star defensive end prospect) Byron Cowart only he's 40 pounds heavier. He's incredibly intelligent. He's a sponge.”
Gary's week at the Under Armour All-American Game produced similarly rapturous responses. Scout's Bill Greene liked him more than any DT from last year's crop after taking in the Tuesday practice:
Could make the case that this was the best overall football player on the field today, and I doubt anyone who was there would argue. Gary is a monster. He has everything he needs to be a star at the college level. Last year at Under Armour featured three tremendous defensive tackles in Christian Wilkins, Terry Beckner and Daylon Mack. All three played well this year as true freshman. What I saw out of Gary today puts him way above those three. There are very few true difference-makers coming out of high school every year. Rashan Gary is exactly that. Wherever he goes next year will see him playing as a freshman. He's THAT good.
Scout's Greg Powers could only invoke the name... Rashan Gary:
Rashan Gary did Rashan Gary type things. He is the No. 1 prospect for a reason. There are not too many more superlatives you can throw on him. He is very special.
Rivals named him the top overall performer of the week:
Gary dominated from the time he arrived until he got on the plane back home. He entered with a target on his back and each and every day he proved he was up to the challenge. He played defensive end and defensive tackle throughout the week and used a combination of power, speed, and technique to get the best of his competition. He showed time and time again the hype was real. He took home MVP honors for Team Highlight after recording six tackles, three sacks and 3.5 TFLs.
Gary didn't just get by on natural talent; Rivals' Mike Farrell also gave him the "anger management" award for the scrappiest player of the week, saying he has a "non-stop motor." That performance cemented his spot atop the Rivals rankings:
“We found our guy,” said Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell. “Gary was No. 1 in our last ranking and he held onto it through all-star season despite some fierce competition. In fact, our top four remained exactly the same, something that is a rarity not only from one ranking to the next but for the final two rankings. Dexter Lawrence was impressive, Shea Patterson had an amazing week as well at the U.S. Army All American Bowl and Gregory Little was awesome at Under Armour All America week.
"But Gary’s performance was as dominant as I’ve ever seen from a defensive tackle who played mostly outside and was still too fast and athletic for everyone. Gary becomes our first defensive tackle to finish No. 1 and it is well deserved.”
Bruce Feldman surveyed 36 college coaches to see which 2016 prospect has the chance to make the biggest impact as a true freshman; Gary was the most popular choice:
"This is a really good defensive line class and he is head and shoulders above every other D-lineman in this class," one longtime college coach said. "He's 300 pounds and he moves well enough, he can play end. He's great with his hands. He's strong. He's been very well-coached and has had a great high school D-line coach. Rashan Gary is the Leonard Fournette of this class."
Said one in-house recruiting coordinator who has worked at two Power 5 conference schools: "He's a 300-pounder who moves like he's 240. He is special."
Scout went one step further and named Gary the most NFL-ready player in the class.
The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan gave his evaluation in the wake of Gary's commitment:
Gary is a naturally strong player, but still has the ability to get even stronger at the next level. In a college weight training program, his already-impressive physique will be taken to the next level. He can dominate offensive linemen who line up across from him, and escort them back to the quarterback or simply discard them off to the side.
He's also extremely quick, able to split double-teams by beating offensive linemen off the ball. He can provide pass-rush from the interior because he's quicker than guards. He can use his quickness and speed to get around the edge.
Gary is also a technically sound player, more so than most young defensive linemen. His footwork and hand technique are exceptional, and will only get better in a college program.
As did 247's Clint Brewster, who echoed the sentiment that Gary can play inside or outside:
Gary easily has the frame to be a 310-pound defensive tackle, but he packs it on tight. He’s 293 pounds now, but looks much lighter because of his compact muscle and long frame. The way that Gary can explode with his body and create distance between him and his opponent is special. The term “converts speed to power ” really applies to Gary. He’s got rare abilities as player because of his versatility and all he can do. It’s rare when a player has the quickness, speed, and size that he has but also the toughness and physicality to finish. He's an instant impact player that will see the field as a true freshman and Gary is so valuable because of the attention he will get from opposing defenses. He will get double and triple teamed and allow other players to get free.
Gary held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Ole Miss, Mizzou, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others. He could've gone anywhere he wanted.
Paramus Catholic probably needs no introduction. Gary was coached for his first three years of high school by current Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge. PC gave Michigan another five-star in Jabrill Peppers, a four-star OT in Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and there could be more on the way—four-star 2017 LB Drew Singleton is highly interested and four-star DT Corey Bolds also holds an offer.
Gary is 6-5 and 293 pounds and was the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year. He had 13 1/2 sacks and 55 tackles in nine games and forced four fumbles and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
According to MaxPreps, he had 14 sacks, ten additional TFLs, a blocked punt, and a fumble return for a TD as a junior.
FAKE 40 TIME
Gary's 4.74 SPARQ-verified 40 time is gloriously not FAKE at all. He's an unbelievable athlete for a player that size.
MaxPreps put together a video of his top five plays as a senior:
Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Even though Michigan returns everyone but Willie Henry from one of the best D-line rotations in the country—and adds Bryan Mone to the mix—there's no question Gary is going to make an instant impact, especially given his versatility. While Mone and Ryan Glasgow are set at nose tackle, Gary could rotate in anywhere else on the line, and perhaps even start at WDE if the Wolverines want to put an enormous front four out there.
Gary should eventually settle into the interior, though with his quickness it's likely Michigan will move him all over the line to provide as many matchup issues as possible. He's got all the tools to be an All-American and eventual top draft pick.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's really dang good.