Ann Arbor – Rashan Gary is entering his sophomore season at Michigan, and defensive coordinator Don Brown has set the praise bar high.
Brown was asked Saturday after Michigan’s high school football camps how good Gary, a defensive end, can be.
“Best I’ve ever seen,” Brown said. “Best I’ve ever seen combining speed, strength, change of direction, and the mental curve. He’s unbelievable. The sky is the limit.
“The good thing is I think he understands that there’s a lot on his shoulders.”
Gary, like several of his teammates, worked the camps, and Brown was further impressed with his lack of pretentiousness and how he carries himself. He described how Gary worked on a one-on-one basis with the young campers, offering instruction and encouragement while never being condescending.
“There’s no air,” he said. “He’s a humble guy. Just goes about his business every day. Not only is he a great player, he’s a tremendous young man to be around. Every single day he’s the same. I marvel how he carries himself on a day-to-day basis.”
Coming out of Paramus (N.J.) Catholic, Gary was the top-rated recruit in 2016. Brown knows that sometimes highly-rated high school players can develop highly-rated egos, as well, and often the coaches have to burst those bubbles.
“But he’s just not one of those guys,” Brown said. “He just goes about his business every day. The way he treated people (at the camps) is special.”
Although Gary was still concluding his freshman year, during spring practices he clearly had become a leader and offered advice to young players, as well as some of his older teammates. And that advice was received without resentment.
How does Gary pull that off, giving advice to his teammates even though he’s among the younger players?
“I’ll tell you why,” Brown said. “Because they know he works his tail off. If you’re a big mouth and you don’t work very hard, 10 guys aren’t going to take you very seriously. But when they see how hard he works … and usually when he opens his mouth it’s with purpose.
“I can’t think of anything where he’s just, ‘I’m going to rough this guy up because I feel like roughing him up.’ To be honest, when leadership comes from within, you have a real chance.”