ANN ARBOR, Mich. – When you put up dazzling NFL Combine like numbers, and you’ve yet to finish your freshman year of college, people tend to pay attention.
Gary, all 6-foot-5, 287-pounds of him, however, doesn’t get motivated by the numbers he puts up, or his expected accolades or compliments by his coaches or teammates alike.
No, simply put, Gary is just worried about getting better.
“Just right now I felt I had to get my body right, getting my body more in shape,” Gary said. “Just ready to take the banging we take during the season. So I think did that and I worked on my mental game. When I say mental, I say hitting the film and looking at things I messed up on last year and what I need to do this year, and keep on working.”
Adding: “Just mentally and physically throughout the off-season I definitely did that.”
And with those extra mental reps during the winter months, Gary admits it’s already starting to pay off just three practices into spring camp.
“Now I know what I am doing,” Gary said. “I don’t need to question myself, things like that, I know what I need to play. I know how to play them. … It’s a little bit smoother now.”
While technically still a freshman student, Gary has also taken it upon himself to more of vocal leader to fellow defensive lineman and early-enrolled freshman like Donovan Jeter and Corey Malone-Hatcher.
“It’s kind of weird, but something I got to get used to,” Gary said, who admits he’s naturally a more quiet reserved player. “Right now I am embracing that leadership role, and I’m just bringing them along the way.”
Living up to Brown’s proclamation
On Friday, Don Brown said Gary and Maurice Hurst Jr. could be the best D-line tandem in the country, and Gary’s not arguing with his coach.
“That’s the goal, and I do believe in it,” Gary said promptly.
Why? “Cause he know his ability and he knows mine. We both have goals, he knows his and I know mine. We go after it every practice,” Gary said, though he wouldn’t say what their goal was exactly.
“Can’t quite, but you’ll see them when they’re accomplished, though,” he added.
Michigan plays its annual spring game on April 15.