Gary ‘ready for anything’ ahead of trip to Michigan

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Paramus, N.J. — Already in the Michigan fold, defensive lineman Rashan Gary, the No. 1 recruit in the country, didn’t have anything to prove.

So he was able to kick back on the sidelines of the Next Level Football Camp at Paramus Catholic High on Wednesday and soak things in. It was a mesh of his old home and his new coaches, as several Michigan coaches helped at Gary’s soon-to-be alma mater.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be the keynote speaker at Gary’s graduation, which is tonight in Newark, N.J.

But Gary, sporting an adidas jogging suit with a block Michigan ‘M’, was as noticeable as Harbaugh in his Yankees Derek Jeter jersey — his homage to a local hero, which he’s done at each of his satellite camp stops.

Gary revealed he’ll be heading to Ann Arbor next week.

Despite his impressive accolades, Gary doesn’t have any high expectations about jumping into the rotation immediately. Rather, he’ll have to come in like most freshmen and try to learn the ropes from veterans under the watchful eye of defensive line coach Greg Mattison.

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“I’m ready for anything, but I’m just going to work as hard as I can and fit in where I fit in,” Gary said. “Only Coach Mattison knows (whether I’ll play early). Hard work always shows at the end of the day, so I’m going in to work hard and if I end up playing, I play; if I don’t, and I have to sit back and learn, I’ll do that.”

Gary, who dominated at Paramus Catholic, is expecting to start at defensive end and possibly play on other positions on the line, as well.

He’s looking forward to the transformation, and the next few weeks will tell how versatile he can become.

“When I get there, they say they’re going to put 18 pounds of muscle on me,” the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder said. “You’re going to see me with my body changed and I can’t wait to see the change.

“When I get there, I’m going to start at defensive end and we’ll see how that works out and then I’ll start being able to move around. I have to learn the game first and being under the kids I have to be under, I’m going to learn from them and they’ll teach me how to play it.”

Although Michigan added Don Brown at defensive coordinator, Gary said there isn’t any change in plans for how he might be used, but emphasized it’s based on how much of the scheme he can pick up and how quickly.

About 650 players participated in Wednesday’s camp, which competed with another camp, the Rutgers Football Tri-State Showcase, at the same time Wednesday about 30 miles away. That camp was held at Fairleigh Dickinson and led by Rutgers coach Chris Ash, along with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and some of his staff, including new defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, a former Rutgers coach.

On Wednesday morning, Paramus Catholic president James Vail told the football field was littered with Rutgers magnets, papers and a teddy bear, and was in response to Harbaugh “starting a war with Rutgers” by having a satellite camp in New Jersey.

Paramus’ connection to Michigan includes assistant Chris Partridge, along with current Wolverines all-around player Jabrill Peppers.

Harbaugh’s brother John, coach of the Baltimore Ravens, also attended the camp and assisted with some drills.