Film Comp: Rashan Gary vs. Nick Bosa
The party isn't complete until you sample the schadenfreude. And everyone has a different recipe.
On a Reddit thread that was posted yesterday of Rashan Gary's signing, an Ohio State fan shared his or her reaction to Michigan landing the nation's top player. Of course, they weren't pleased. They shouldn't be; Gary is a program-changing kind of talent. But just to cross a few t's and dot some i's, I wanted to sit down and do some hard cross-examining. Does Gary stack up to Ohio State's five-star D-lineman? Let's find out.
We could spend all day talking about Rashan Gary's combination of size and strength. He is stronger than your average defensive tackle, and yet he pass-rushes like an elite defensive end. Putting that aside, though, Rashan also has a host of important intangibles. He has very good balance (not the case with Bosa). He is excellent at guarding the run regardless of where he lines up. His hands and body are wide enough and immovable enough to make blocking assignments relatively easy to handle; he can judge a play patiently without losing positioning. He's a wonder to watch, sort of like if Jordan were a defensive tackle instead of an all-time great NBA player. The game moves more slowly for him than other players, and then he has the speed to react quickly when the play reveals itself.
With Bosa, it's a different story. He's a great player, obviously, and a five-star talent. His coaches have complimented him on being a little ahead of where his brother was when Joey was in high school. I don't know that I really believe that, but Nick does have a lot of talent rushing the passer. He is a slightly different player than his older brother; Joey has 'unusual' size for a strongside defensive end, with very long arms and a penchant for cutting inside rather than trying to beat the tackle around the edge. Nick is a little smaller, a little shorter, and he doesn't have the same enforcement in the run game that Joey provides with ease. Nick makes up for that with a little more speed, but in the end he ends up being more one-dimensional. He's simply not an enforcer in the middle.
Compare that skill set to Rashan Gary, and the gap grows even wider. You can probably scheme around Nick Bosa, and even shut him down completely if you have a fleet-footed offensive tackle to throw in his way. There is no way to scheme around Rashan Gary, a man who can beat you in uncountable ways. Gary will be a player who can move all over the line, will demand a double-team on passing downs and could still split a pair of interior linemen to sack the quarterback. Nick Bosa has speed and strength, but nothing like Rashan.
In fact, to find a truly comparable match for what Rashan is bringing to the table, you'd have to go back to an old Stallion and Gamecock - Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney had the kind of balance that Rashan has and Nick lacks; he also had soft hands and an offensive player's instincts. When confronting an opposing blocker, he could convert speed to power effortlessly and barely slow down. Nick can get pushed off his course while trying to spin and juke to the quarterback. With Rashan and Jadeveon, you rarely get to push them around.
So, to put it simply: Rashan Gary is not your 'typical' elite defensive prospect. He's a force of nature, and not many other players come close.
Hitting the Links Is A Walk-On
This YouTube clip talks about the legendary high school that Devin is graduating from (it became the subject of a film) and what personality Devin brings to the locker room.
Recruiting talent, and recruiting character. It's the recipe the SEC hasn't patented.
Let me throw a hot take onto the fire: I think 2016 could be a bigger windstorm of headlines than 2015 was. Recruits will get to see Jim Harbaugh's recruits, sophomores and freshmen, making a big impact in the Big Ten. They'll get to see what hard work and NFL coaching accrues. There will be more media, more press. The work that Jim did to make Michigan relevant again will bear fruit in the 2017 cycle.
Very short, but sweet, link from ESPN.
Hill Auditorium never looked better. Credit: Rey Del Rio, Getty
Michigan's gains are Iowa's gains as well, as the Hawkeyes gobbled up a talented kid out of Detroit when M wasn't interested.
Harding's speed is something other teams will be able to exploit, but teams in the tier of Illinois are usually going to be stitching their defenses together with imperfect pieces. Harding can ball when it comes to stopping the interior runs, and that's a big help for Illinois at the moment.
There's a trend here. As Michigan scoured the country, rather than just the Midwest, for elite talent, a number of the players that might have gone Blue will instead be sticking around to compete against us. Which is great. In many ways, Michigan has taken back the mantle of representing and carrying the Big Ten, between its elite recruiting, national relevance, and a 10-win season.
Coming out for family. Credit: Rey Del Rio, Getty
Michigan State's four-star defensive end is suffering off-field legal trouble. However, despite being a blue-chip, Robertson is not the crown jewel on this class's defensive front. This article also discusses the rest of Michigan State's class, including Josh King, who is the crown jewel. King has NFL length and looks like the thinner, longer defensive tackles that Michigan State has been using recently - guys like Lawrence Thomas and Malik McDowell. I fully expect him to be a great player.
I'll be curious to see what expectations the media puts on this team for next year. As this column mentions, Ohio State will be very young next year. And, they'll obviously be very talented.
I was a little late on praising Nebraska's recruiting class, but going through it a little more closely, there's a lot to like. Beefy O-linemen, durability to handle the Big Ten and enough speed to challenge it. The Huskers finished with the #23 recruiting class in the nation per the 247Sports Composite, but they might be a little underrated.
If somewhere, deep in your soul, you still miss D.J. Durkin, then here's him talking excitedly about Maryland's new class. Durkin is now on the clock, so to speak, as he turns his attention to the first full recruiting class of his tenure. Like Harbaugh, he did well with a very limited time frame and a recruiting class he didn't entirely have his hands on. But '17 will be intriguing.
I find it a little funny that Purdue is not even mentioned. That's how rough it is for Purdue, that they don't even qualify for a column like this.
This couldn't be more comfy and cozy if they were drinking hot chocolate and had frothy mustaches. Credit: Rey Del Rio.
This was really cool - an interactive map showing where Illinois got all their commitments from. And a large part of this class is not from Illinois at all. As I've mentioned in here before, Illinois has struggled in-state.
One of the teams in 'need of good news,' Rutgers has had some slightly embarrassing flips in the last week or so. Mack would have been a stick of dynamite for Rutgers, and a contender for early playing time, but he fits in with a lot of the other great athletes Indiana has gotten over the last few years.
Also, Kevin Wilson went down south and got a commitment from a defensive tackle from Mississippi, Jerome Johnson - beating out Ole Miss and Louisville in the process. Slowly but surely, Indiana's movin' on up.
Here, BTN has a handy guide to some of the numbers and geography behind National Signing Day.
As the dust settles, there are still a few moving pieces left that could change some of the final rankings.
For a nice historical touch, here's a column by Eleven Warriors on the rise of Ohio State's recruiting success.
Out of any team in the East that wasn't doing a complete overhaul, Penn State saw the most turnover at the coaching positions. That provided some challenges on the recruiting trail that the coaches discuss here.
Penn State's recruiting motto is apparently 'creative, not creepy,' which is probably a reference to Harbaugh's eclectic style. Franklin also said he emphasizes relationships. Thanks, James.
For no reason at all, we'll dust off the old projector and look back at this cathartic win. Hack had 134 total yards in this one, on 13/31 passing.