ANN ARBOR, Mich. – So far, Rashan Gary is living up to the hype – in practice anyways, players say.
Gary, who has yet to play his first game collegiate game, has earned high praise already from notable Michigan upperclassman for his skill-set and demeanor he brings on the practice field.
“I’ve gone against him a lot,” said right tackle Erik Magnuson, who lines up against Gary every day in practice. “He was playing end obviously. I go against him every day -- he’s pretty incredible, there is a not a lot of guys who come out of high school that have that talent and are ready to play at this level like he is.”
Running back De'Veon Smith has also had his chance to block the 6-foot-5, 287-pound, Gary in pass protection drills.
And like Magnuson, he also called Gary “impressive,” comparing him to fellow defensive lineman Taco Charlton.
“Taco Charlton (6-6, 273-pounds) and Rashan are kind of like the same size,” Smith said. “So I try to get big with them.”
But Charlton is four years older, a reporter quipped. Well, Charlton, 21, is actually three years older than Gary, 18, but the point was made.
“Exactly, Rashan is a little kid, (Smith stopped himself), he’s not a little kid, but he’s still a teenager,” Smith said of Gary, who turns 19 in December. “So I’m not going to lose to any teenager, sorry.”
However, it’s Gary’s unique blend of speed, power and size that has Magnuson impressed.
“He has a lot of raw talent, but he’s a big kid, I don’t know how much he weighs, but he’s fast, really fast for how big he is,” Magnuson said. “I don’t know exactly, but he’s got to be over 280 (pounds) or something like that. But he moves like a lot lighter defensive end.”
Another aspect of Gary’s game that has stuck out has been his motor, Magnuson says, and his willingness to compete for every snap.
“He’s a competitor, he hates to lose,” Magnuson said. “So if I beat him he calls me back and we go again till he beats me. It’s good for me, it’s good for him playing against good guys, (and) it’s only a positive for us.”
Either way, Smith says he anxious to see how Gary’s career unfolds in the end.
“I’m very impressed with him,” Smith said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. From today to his senior year, it’s going to be scary what he’s going to turn into.”
And Gary’s college career starts on Aug. 3, when Michigan plays host to Hawaii.