Star freshman Rashan Gary made his collegiate debut on Saturday.
For most freshman, the pregame jitters are not an easy thing to shake. Even the most experienced of players find themselves jittery from time to time. For Gary's sake, he entered Saturday's game against Hawaii with the spotlight shining just a little bit brighter on him that day.
With help of senior leaders, he was able to thoroughly enjoy his first experience of playing at Michigan Stadium.
"It was crazy, I was nervous," Gary said. "[Chris] Wormley and Taco [Charlton,] they calmed me down and said 'it's time go.' I had a great time. My first series when I was out there, I was nervous, but when I was getting out there more I started adjusting and I started making plays... It was crazy, I've never experienced [a crowd] like that in my life. I really can't wait for next Saturday to feel that again."
When Gary made his first collegiate tackle, 110,000-plus people erupted into a roar. They know Gary's story, they know what he's capable of and they know the hype that surrounded his recruitment. Once that first tackle was out of the way, all that's left to do now is play football.
With that being said, it doesn't stop him from appreciating the moment.
"It felt so good, I'm not going to lie to you," Gary said with a beaming smile. "When I made my first tackle and they said 'Rashan Gary' over the announcement, it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. [The crowd reaction] felt so good, it's the best feeling I've ever had. I've never played in front of so many people and so many people had so much energy."
Gary potentially has the opportunity to see increased snaps with the injury to Taco Charlton sidelining him for an unknown period of time. When asked whether he expects to see increased playing time, Gary answered the question like a seasoned veteran.
A humble, gentle giant.
"I don't know," Gary said. "Whatever coach Mattison wants. I'm up and ready for the challenge. If they want me to play more, then I'll play more. I'll just sit back and play my role and whenever my name is called, I'm ready to roll."