Print and Go Back Alabama Crimson Tide [Print without images]

Thursday, July 18, 2013
2016 DT Gary growing into a big name

By Josh Moyer

The recruiting process has moved quickly for 2016 DT Rashan Gary (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood).

He first tried on shoulder pads in seventh grade, gathered attention in eighth grade after grabbing MVP honors at a National Underclassmen Combine and then became a varsity starter in ninth grade. And now? He already holds seven offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Penn State.

"It's been great, and I've been able to handle it all because my mom keeps me humble," Gary said, adding he nearly missed the call because he was in the midst of taking out all the trash. "So I really can't say it's all hit me yet because, for me as a person, it can never hit me. If it hits me, I'm afraid I'm not going to work. I just want to stay humble."

For now, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound sophomore -- whos runs a 4.99-second 40 -- continues to work with a personal trainer twice a week and focuses on his explosiveness. He also lifts with his team and has attended numerous camps to increase his exposure.

He dreams about hitting different college gridirons and performing in front of seas of fans, but he's tried not to focus too much on his recruitment. He's in the early stages and is just trying to get a sense of different schools.

The New Jersey native has already been on visits to Ohio State, UConn, Temple, Rutgers and Penn State -- but he's finished seeing schools until the fall. Then he'll attend the Oct. 12 PSU-Michigan game and the Nov. 2 Rutgers-Temple contest.

"I'm also interested in Michigan, so I want to see what they do," Gary said. "Plus, [PSU assistant] coach Larry Johnson said, before I left camp, that's the game I need to go see."

Vanderbilt tends to send Gary the most letters, usually a handful every day, but Michigan, PSU and Rutgers also keep in contact more than other schools. That's not a big concern of Gary's this early on, but he does already have a list of other priorities.

"Academics, that's No. 1," he said. "That's what my mom wants, and that's want I want. And, since I'm going to play D-line, it's also the defensive line coach. I got to have a great relationship with him because he's the one I'm going to spend the most time with.

"So you got to like your coach, and it has to feel like a family atmosphere. And if a school has all that and they can get me to the next level, that'd be the perfect school for me."

Gary said all the schools are currently on equal footing right now, but he did acknowledge ties to a lot of different colleges. He didn't have a favorite team growing up -- but his aunt graduated from Ohio State, another aunt went to Florida, and a cousin enrolled in Florida State.

So he's heard about a lot of schools, and right now he's just trying to learn things for himself. At Penn State, for example, he admitted he knew next to nothing until a June visit pleasantly surprised him.

"As soon as me and my mom and sister came to the door, they knew who we were. They greeted my mom and they were like, 'Hi Rashan,' " he said. "I didn't know they knew who I was.

"I didn't know anything about Penn State, but throughout the camp Coach Larry Johnson just showed he was a nice guy. I loved it there; Coach Johnson I really liked. The campus is good, it's big, and it's not too far from home and seems like everybody has open hearts for you."

Gary said he'll likely plan a few other visits to schools this fall. But at this point he's just trying to focus on working hard and letting his recruitment take care of itself.

"I try not to think about recruiting much," he said. "Because if I work hard, that's how the offers will come."