For most high ranking prospects a hectic recruitment is simply a fact of life. The key to keeping the process in check is a great support system. Paramus (N.J.) Catholic defensive lineman Rashan Gary certainly has that in his mom, Jennifer Coney. Whether it’s serving as a buffer between her son and coaches/media, or just offering her opinions on various decision criteria, she does whatever is necessary to make his life easier. She has even offered advice to Gary’s friends about their recruitments from time to time. One such instance occurred with Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic running back Kareem Walker a few weeks back during a trip to Auburn.
“He is a good kid,” Coney said. “I like Kareem, so I was like come on… let’s take visits together.”
“I love him. These kids that play football (against one another), even though they’re on opposing teams, are good kids. I just try to tell them to, ‘do what’s best for you… not what’s best for anybody else. Do what’s best for you.’ We went on the visit to Auburn… me… Donald Stewart, Rashan, (and Walker)… and we had a great time. A great time! I just tried to talk to him like if his mom was (on the visit), she would talk to him.”
It proved to be a memorable experience for the entire Garden State contingent. And while Coney did share her thoughts on the "dishonesty" of former Tiger defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's acceptance of the South Carolina head coaching job one day after he told her he’d be staying, she insists that reports of her surprise and/or displeasure over the move have been way overblown. At this point she and her son are relishing the forthcoming opportunity to take a break from recruiting.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen (with future visits),” she said. “Right now we’re waiting until after the (Under Armour) All American game. Colleges are about to be in a dead period, so we’re just going to enjoy the holidays. My whole family is going down to see Rashan’s last high school game as an all American. We’re just going to enjoy being normal for a minute.”
When they return home from Orlando, Fla. (site of the game) the focus will shift to hitting the road again. That could include more unofficial visits.
“It depends on if Rashan is still interested in other (schools),” Coney explained. “We may have to because we only have two officials left.”
It could also depend on his desire to revisit some of his finalists. Michigan has certainly brought up that possibility. In the meantime the Wolverine brass is making it a point to make it over to New Jersey to see Gary as often as possible.
“Michigan said they were coming to Rashan’s school (December 9th) and then they’re going to come by the house this weekend,” Coney reported. “(November 30th) it was Durkin and Mattison (visiting). They didn’t come by the house, they went by the school.”
It obviously won’t be Durkin dropping in on Michigan’s behalf for any subsequent visits since he accepted the head coaching job at Maryland. His departure has affected some of the Wolverines’ targets more than others. Count Gary among those experiencing limited impact.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” Mrs. Coney said. “Coach Harbaugh reached out to me and he said he is going to get the best defensive coordinator that he can get. He said just have faith in him. I do, so we’re going to see how the dust settles.”