When Rashan Gary arrived in Ann Arbor, he was widely hailed as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, and he has backed up that lofty status. Brown told me Gary is one of the hardest workers they have at practice and uses his hands so well. I asked him if Gary reminds him of anyone he’s coached at previous stops, and Brown mentioned Boston College star Harold Landry, a guy who some analysts project as a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. But Brown pointed out Gary is a whole lot bigger: He weighs in the 280s (about 30 pounds more than Landry) and is still running the 40-yard dash in the high 4.5 range. “His ceiling is extremely high to be that big and run as well as he does,” Brown says.
Two weeks ago, the Wolverines held Air Force to 232 yards of total offense, its lowest output since 2012. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told me this was one of the best defenses he’s ever faced. The guy who really caught his eye was linebacker Devin Bush Jr. “He doesn’t look like much, he’s maybe 5'10", but he’s so quick and tough. He just unloads and knocks the heck out of people.”
The Michigan staff loves Bush’s intelligence and how well he blitzes. He leads the team with 32 tackles (second-best in the Big Ten) and also has 5.5 tackles for loss.
One other Michigan note: Jim Harbaugh has quite a weapon in kickoff man James Foug. Purdue special teams coordinator Tony Levine told me that in 15 years as a coach he’s never seen a kickoff guy get the kind of hang time Foug gets. Most of his kickoffs end up as touchbacks. The ones that are returned end up with the opponent’s average starting field position at their 17.
Levine says anything over four seconds of hang time on a kickoff is exceptional; Foug’s kicks consistently come in around 4.5. Usually when the returner catches the kick, you want the coverage guys to be inside the 35-yard line; Levine says that by the time Michigan’s opponents receive the ball, the Wolverines’ coverage team is typically inside the 25.