Michigan’s game against BYU was an eye opener — and not only because U-M surpassed expectations with a 31-0 blowout. The Sept. 26 contest also was big because football coach Jim Harbaugh and his assistants welcomed the highest-ranked recruit they’ll have on campus all season.
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary is a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder and the No. 2 overall player in the nation. He is a consensus five-star prospect and attends the high school of Michigan sophomores Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty (though, because last season was his first at Paramus, he didn’t have them as teammates). His former high school coach Chris Partridge is a recruiting assistant on the Michigan coaching staff.
The connection to Partridge, in fact, helped Gary and his mother, Jennifer Coney, enjoy the trip to Michigan as much as possible.
“Because we’re close with coach Partridge … I just think he presented what was available: the positive things that Michigan could offer,” Coney said. “With everybody, when you meet them, you put on your best face, and as you get to know them, the real you comes out. That’s how coach Partridge and I can deal with each other.”
For Gary, who will visit Auburn on Nov. 28 and hopes to see USC and others before making his college commitment around National Signing Day in February, the trip went well. It reinforced the positives that U-M displayed on his previous visit in late June.
“I think that it did help us feel more comfortable with Michigan,” Coney said. “We didn’t necessarily get any more from the visit than we did the first time. They were pretty thorough in showing us everything the first time. I guess a lot of things are just restated a second time.”
Should Gary pick Michigan, he would be the highest-ranked player in the rivals.com era to sign with the Wolverines, surpassing Peppers. The Wolverines currently boast 22 commitments, and the class ranks No. 6 nationally (second in the Big Ten, behind No. 1 Ohio State), according to Rivals. As things stand today, a Gary commitment would move U-M up to No. 2 in the country.
No. 1 2016 recruit Gary: U-M ‘one of my top schools’
Tim Sullivan is the football recruiting editor of The Wolverine magazine and thewolverine.com. He is also a contributor to national football recruiting coverage on the rivals.com network. You can follow him on Twitter @tims_wolverine.