Jim Harbaugh has landed the biggest recruiting fish by far during his two recruiting cycles in Michigan — and he didn’t even need a sleepover to do it.
Down to a final two of UM and Clemson, and with a decided lean toward the Wolverines, Rashan Gary, the nation’s No. 1 recruit, announced during a live segment on ESPN2 that he is indeed headed to Ann Arbor to play for Harbaugh. While there was a lean toward Michigan, the fact that Gary’s last official visit came this past weekend to Clemson led some to shift their thinking and see the Tigers as a real threat to UM.
In the end, however, the leader entering the 18th hole claimed the prized trophy in the clubhouse.
“That’s the place where I felt comfortable, that’s the place I feel my family will feel comfortable, that’s the place I feel the academic support is great,” Gary said in a post-announcement interview. Interestingly, Gary said “when I was coming to the stage” when he was asked about when he decided on Michigan.
Rashan Gary is on his way to ESPN. In a Limo. Because Signing Day pic.twitter.com/HsokuUkDhe
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) February 3, 2016
From Rivals.com to Scout to 247Sports to ESPN, every major recruiting service had the New Jersey product ranked as the No. 1 player in the country. In most cases, it was the first time those recruiting services had ranked a defensive tackle as the top-rated overall prospect in a class.
This also marks the first time that the Michigan program has signed the highest-rated recruit in a class. Jabril Peppers was the No. 2 recruit in 2014 as the previous program high-water recruiting mark, which surpassed the No. 4 ranking of quarterback Ryan Mallett in 2007.
One final note: Gary is the first No. 1 prospect to sign with a non-SEC school since Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor in 2008.