Paramus Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary, considered the No. 1 consensus recruit in the 2016 class, chose Michigan over Clemson on Wednesday on ESPN2.
“I picked Michigan because, you know, that’s a place where I felt comfortable,” Gary said. “That’s a place where my family felt comfortable. That’s a place where I felt the academic support is great and the degree holds a lot of weight. … It’s going to help me for a lifetime goal, and that’s to make sure I provide for my family.”
Gary made the trip to and from his announcement to ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn., via an ESPN-provided limousine. He faxed in his letter-of-intent later in the day, after he arrived back at his high school.
Gary is 6-5 and 293 pounds and was the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year. He had 13 1/2 sacks and 55 tackles in nine games and forced four fumbles and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. With the addition of Gary, Michigan’s recruiting class moved into the top five of all the major recruiting services.
“Rashan is a difference maker,” Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown said. “He can rush on the edge. He’s extremely physical and talented. He has a great motor and plays hard every down. Rashan is also a guy we can move around and play at any of the four down defensive line positions. I was really impressed with how hard he played in the Under Armour All-American Game.”
Gary said his decision came late.
“Coming into this day, I was talking to both coaches,” Gary said. “It took everything to really settle down and really go through the thought process and God sent me a signal and it was an amazing feeling.”
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Former Paramus Catholic head coach Chris Partridge is the Wolverines’ linebackers and special teams coach. Former Paramus Catholic players Jabrill Peppers (who was the 2013 ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year) and Juwann Bushell-Beatty are entering their third year at Michigan and two of Gary’s best friends in the 2016 class, Kareem Walker and Michael Dwumfour from DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) are Michigan signees.
Gary is the third 2015 ALL-USA first-team player the Wolverines landed, as Arrowhead (Hartland, Wis.) offensive tackle Ben Bredeson and kicker Quinn Nordin from Rockford, Mich., signed with the Wolverines on Wednesday.
With the addition of Gary, the Wolverines have 28 signees. He is the first No. 1 recruit Michigan has landed since Rivals.com began doing recruiting rankings in 2002.
“We are so excited about all of our signees,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “From top to bottom, the youngsters we have have a real heart for competing. … They have worked so hard to put themselves in a position to be here.”