UM teammates rave about Rashan Gary’s ‘tremendous’ ability

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Rashan Gary

Ann Arbor – Michigan’s Rashan Gary easily has been the most talked-about freshman, and while he has yet to be made available for interviews, his teammates are more than willing to talk about him.

There were high expectations for Gary, a defensive lineman and the nation’s top recruit, coming into Michigan, and based on comments from coaches and players, he already is living up to them.

Senior tailback De’Veon Smith said Wednesday night after practice that Gary (6-foot-5, 287 pounds), is comparable in size to Taco Charlton, a 6-6, 272 senior, and is playing well beyond his years.

“I try to get big with them,” Smith said of preseason camp practices. “Rashan is a little kid, but he’s not a little kid. He’s a teenager, so I’m not going to lose to any teenager, though. I’m sorry.”

Senior offensive lineman Erik Magnuson could offer nothing but high praise for Gary, who is expected to play early this fall.

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“He’s very impressive how big he is but yet so quick off the ball, so explosive,” Magnuson said. “He’s a big player. He’s 290 pounds or 280-plus, I don’t know exactly. But he’s one of the fastest defensive linemen we have. He has a very high motor.

“I haven’t seen a freshman come in and play like him probably since Jabrill (Peppers). It’s kind of ironic they both went to the same high school (Paramus Catholic). I don’t know what’s happening in New Jersey. They’re very good. Rashan has a lot of raw talent and even with being raw, he’s still able to make a lot of plays. And now he’s learning the coaching and the plays and everything. It’s getting harder and harder to block him.”

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Teammates says Gary is a mature 18-year-old on the field.

“He doesn’t play like a freshman,” Magnuson said. “Sometimes freshman defensive linemen come in and they dominated all through high school and they’ll get here and they’re playing against everyone who’s 300 pounds-plus on the offensive line and they struggle. But he steps in, he’s just like one of the guys. He’s very good, too.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh has been clear that he will play the best players, no matter their age or class. Smith said several of the freshmen cornerbacks and linebackers have impressed him, as well, but Gary is the jewel of the class.

“Yeah, he’s a tremendous athlete,” Smith said. “From today to his senior year, it’s going to be scary what he turns into.”