Among the incoming freshman football class at Michigan, no one has received more hype than defensive tackle Rashan Gary, the gem of the group and the nation’s top recruit.
Defensive line coach Greg Mattison has said Gary, from Paramus (N.J.) Catholic, will have an impact early in his career, meaning this fall. Some of the veterans have seen Gary at work in the weight room this summer and have come away impressed.
“He runs like a wide receiver,” tight end Jake Butt said during Big Ten media days in Chicago earlier this week. “I’ve seen him running around a little bit. He’s very, very athletic. I saw him put up 26 reps of 225 (pounds), so that’s always a good thing if you can do that.
“I’m excited. There’s a lot of hype surrounding him, but he seems to have a hard-work mentality and I’m sure he’ll be a high-motor guy this fall, too.”
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis has talked about how nimble Gary’s feet are, based on Gary’s performance in the ladder drill. While Gary hasn’t been on the field yet, he will make his first significant impressions Aug. 8 when camp opens.
“I’ll give you one thing, he works,” Lewis said. “As talented as he is, he will work.”
From 7-on-7 workouts this summer, Butt and Lewis have been able to get a look at some of the freshmen. Butt said he is impressed by the young tight ends – Devin Asiasi, Nick Eubanks and Sean McKeon, saying they’re “talented and eager to learn.”
Lewis praised several of the freshmen he’s seen playing receiver and defensive back.
“They’re physical,” Lewis said of the group. “They want to play right now. (Defensive back) Lavert Hill, (receiver) Dylan Crawford, (defensive back) David Long, everybody wants to play. Everybody. That’s just something you need to be a championship caliber team.”
He said the receivers, including Eddie McDoom and Nate Johnson, arrived “looking like college receivers.” He was asked if Long and Hill could play this fall in the secondary.
“They’re way better than me at that age – they might be better than me now,” Lewis said. “It’s crazy how much maturity you see in these guys. You see them at camps and you see them running 4.3s. These guys are so mature, they’re ready. Their bodies are ready for a 15-game season, a 14-game season.
“I came in 159 (pounds as a freshman). Those guys are quick. They have instincts. I had some of those, but those guys look like nothing can stop them from getting on the field.”
Lewis said all of the freshmen, not only Gary, have been working hard this summer.
“That’s what I can say for all the freshman from Josh Metellus, Khaleke Hudson, Lavert Hill, Dylan (Crawford) David Long, Josh Uche – all of them want to work. They go out there and want to learn.
“They want to play. They want to get out there on Saturdays. They don’t want to just watch us. They don’t want to learn from the bench, they want to be out there experiencing. That’s something I haven’t seen in a long time in a recruiting class, guys coming in there trying to get early starting time. It’s just really refreshing.”