Rashan Gary is primed for a huge second year.
Sophomore defensive lineman Rashan Gary was a key player on last year’s outstanding Michigan defense, but now he’s ready to take the next step into stardom. Fifth-year senior Maurice Hurst is the latest to heap praise on the athletic Gary.
He was skeptical, however, when he saw Gary was credited with a 4.57 40-yard dash.
“There might have been a little fabrication in the 4.5, I think. I’m not hating, but I think there was a little fabrication,” Hurst said with a grin.
He’s with defensive coordinator Don Brown, however, in his assessment that he and Gary could be a ridiculously talented tandem on the line, perhaps one of the best in the country.
Gary notched 27 tackles, five for loss, and one sack last year, but he has the tools to be elite.
“He has all the ability and tools to be a star. That’s something that’s going to come out,” Hurst said. “A lot of it has to do with comfortability. A lot of young guys have trouble being themselves, going out and just playing ball. I think he could have been focusing too much on what he had to do.
“Being in the system for another year and having to do some coaching helps a lot. He’s an older guy now so he’s played a year of football and is not a freshman anymore. He has to coach [early enrollee] Donovan [Jeter] and some of the other anchors who have to step up. I think it really helps his learning curve, makes the defense even better.”
Added Taco Charlton, who recently worked out for scouts at Pro Day: "Rashan, I told him if I come back here in two years and they're not talking about him as a top 10 pick, then he didn't do what he was supposed to do," Charlton said. "He has all the talent. As a young guy, he's a guy that stands out every time.
"I think he can be great. An NFL-caliber player. A top 10 pick."
Hurst didn’t go into much detail about the young guys vying for playing time on the defensive line, but he noted there’s been a lot of moving around.
“I’ve seen great things,” he said. “They’re young, some of them are at new positions, but they’re doing exactly what they are supposed to do. We have a great d-line coach in Coach Mattison, and he’ll make sure they’re ready to go by the first game.”
End Chase Winovich is one who made huge weight room games, up to 255 pounds. He and Gary both stood out as winter warriors, Hurst said.
“Both of them are destined for some big years,” Hurst said. “Rashan switching between end and anchor helps him learn as a whole. It’s the first time having seen the same defense twice, so we’re way ahead of the curve for even guys that redshirted. They guys coming in are picking it up really fast.”
The line should still be the focal point of this year’s group, he added, even after losing a handful of elite players to the NFL.
“We have a really special group,” he said. “I’m really happy about where we’re at. I think we'll have a lot of fun messing with offensive linemen and getting after it. I'm really excited."
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