Michigan Football: Landing Rashan Gary could place U-M among Big Ten’s elite

Jan 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Highlight
Jan 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Highlight /

Signing Rashan Gary Would do Wonders for the Michigan football program as they close out a top-five ranked 2016 recruiting class.

Throughout the 2016 recruiting process, Paramus Catholic (N.J.) defensive tackle Rashan Gary has remained the nation’s No. 1 prospect. He plans on announcing his decision on National Signing Day (Wed., Feb. 3) at 1:00pm. Only two schools, the Michigan Wolverines and Clemson Tigers, remain in the running.

Some experts expect the 6-5, 295 lb. lightning-quick pass rusher to sign with the Wolverines. 247 sports give U-M an 84% shot according to their crystal ball predictions while Bleacher Report has Michigan favored at 3-2. Clemson is 5-1.

A Michigan Lean

Gary has been leaning toward Michigan if only because his former high school coach (Chris Partridge) is now on the Michigan coaching staff, and Gary was a high school teammate of current Wolverines, Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

Related Story: More National Signing Day Coverage

Since academics have also taken a huge part of the decision, Gary’s Mom, Jennifer Coney, has taken a large interest in the recruiting process. Gary’s been to Ann Arbor on several occasions and Coney was impressed, especially with Coach Partridge.

"“Chris Partridge… with Rashan going to Paramus Catholic… he knows me and he knows me well,” Coney said. “He knows the things I want to hear.”“Yeah… Chris Partridge ain’t no dummy!”"

The more recent visit to Clemson went well too.

"“We loved it,” Coney told scout.com about the Clemson visit “I was able to see some family, and my nephew was able to come out and hang with Rashan during his official visit. I got to see the academic presentation, and remember, I didn’t get to see everything when we were at Clemson because it was Easter weekend when we went and the whole staff was not there.”“But everyone was on hand. Clemson is a great school, and we really learned a lot about it.”"

Michigan has planned a “Signing with the Stars” to coincide with NSD and give Harbaugh another gimic.

Gary Could Start Immediately

Should Gary sign Wednesday, it will not only give Michigan a Top-2 class, it would give Michigan a player who could start right away—possibly along side Ryan Glasgow, Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton.

Blitz-crazy Don Brown, who’s Michigan’s new defensive coordinator, should have Wolverines chasing opposing quarterbacks from all over the lot.

So how can Michigan compete for the Big Ten title for what would be the first time since 2004? And don’t forget, Michigan State and Wisconsin have three titles since 2004 and Ohio State six.

Can U-M Compete for Title?

Well, that’s exactly what Jim Harbaugh was hired to do. It’s not impossible for Michigan to compete this fall, especially with the change of culture in Ann Arbor.

All we have to do is look back to a pair of Brady Hoke’s recruiting classes.

Scout.com rated Michigan No. 4 in 2012 and No. 2 in 2013. Between 25 of 30 players from those two classes will suit up this fall, giving Michigan quality depth at most positions. In addition, at least 16 starters from the 2015 squad return including Peppers, All-American Jourdan Lewis, tight end Jake Butt and both wide-outs, Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh.

Michigan finished 10-3 in 2015, and was competitive against every team on the schedule, except Ohio State.