Rashan Gary’s mother has a plan for how to determine his son collegiate future.
At the very beginning of his recruitment Jennifer Coney laid out the criteria by which every program would be evaluated. From there mother and son embarked upon an ambitious spring and summer unofficial visit schedule that took them to numerous campuses along the East Coast, Midwest, and South. Now it’s time for the next phase of the plan… the official visits.
First up on the docket is this weekend’s trip to Michigan. The Paramus (N.J.) Catholic standout visited Ann Arbor twice during the offseason. The first, taken without mom, made a significant impression on Gary. The second, this time with mom in tow, made a significant impression on Coney. They hope the third will give them both the full picture of everything Michigan has to offer. They aim to accomplish that getting away from the coaching presentations and focusing on what they see and hear from those not on Jim Harbaugh’s staff.
“I’m looking for the rapport that the coaches have with the football team,” said Coney. “I’m looking at the (players). I want to see them interacting with each other. You can tell if the football team is happy. You can tell if the (players) are happy with each other. I just want to see what’s going on. I want to see how the kids act that don’t get any playing time. The kids that don’t play football… I want to see their mindset. How is it?”
“I want to know while I’m campus… the fall semester has started… how is the atmosphere? I want to walk through the campus without coaches. Nobody knows who I am. They may know who Rashan is, but nobody knows who I am. I want to walk around town. I want to get a feel for the atmosphere.”
Michigan is obviously hoping to set the visit bar high enough to stand up to the positive experiences he will likely have on subsequent trips. To date %%MATCH_5%% is the only other program to which Gary has scheduled an official visit (November 28th), but that should not be taken to mean that the Tigers and Wolverines lead the pack. Among the schools he has already seen, %%MATCH_4%%, %%MATCH_6%%, and %%MATCH_3%% have also made very positive impressions.
“People down south are extremely friendly,” Mrs. Coney said. “Everybody speaks. Everybody is nice. It’s, ‘yes mam’ or ‘no mam.’ It’s not like that up here. So I liked the SEC. I like it.”
“But I’m going to look for the same thing (on the SEC trips). You don’t to be with me while I’m walking around. I want to get the feel of it. I want to ask kids questions.”
The opinions that are formed from those answers will carry tremendous weight. When asked what the most significant factors in his decision will be, the nation's top recruit placed one above all the rest.
“Make sure my mom is comfortable with the decision and my family coming to see me play games,” Gary told The Michigan Insider previously. “If that’s alright I’m good.”
In other words mom hasn’t steered him wrong thus far, and there isn’t any reason to believe she will start now.
“I’m particular about a lot of stuff, but these are some great programs that Rashan is looking into,” said Coney. “These are some great programs. I don’t know what to tell him (right now). Just go get the feel. I know Rashan better than anyone else so I can be there saying, ‘Rashan I don’t think this is going to be for you.’"
“I’ve got to make sure they have academic support. I’ve got to make sure when Rashan is feeling down…maybe he didn’t get to play in a game or something isn’t right… that he has someone that he can go and talk to. (Someone that’s) not a coach. I want Rashan to develop into a young man, I want to see him enjoy college life. I don’t want to see him struggle with academics. I want to see Rashan have the full complete college experience. I think the way I’m going to get that is to see for myself.”