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Michigan to be without star player against Florida

Michigan junior defensive end Rashan Gary has announced his intention to forgo his senior season to enter his name into the NFL Draft..

 “I would like to thank my higher powers, my family, the University of Michigan and the students and the fans,” Rashan Gary said in an announcement video. “But I will be forgoing my senior season to make a dream come true. To declare for the draft. Thank you. Go blue.”

On Sunday, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about his availability against Florida in the Peach Bowl.

No, Rashan won’t play in the game,” Harbaugh confirmed.

The two teams will kickoff December 29 at noon ET from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The game will be televised live on ESPN. Michigan went 10-2 on the season while Florida finished 9-3. 

Gary, who finished his Michigan career with 137 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 35 games, was the top-ranked overall recruit in the 2016 recruiting class. Hailing from Plainfield, New Jersey and graduating from Paramus Catholic, the 6-foot-5, 290-pound end is largely regarded as a potential top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft thanks to his unique blend of size, speed and strength. He was No. 8 on ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper’s Big Board of 2019 prospects earlier this month.

Should he be selected inside the top 10, he could become Michigan’s highest NFL Draft pick since offensive tackle Jake Long was selected first overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. He would also join safety Jabrill Peppers and defensive end Taco Charlton as first-round picks from Michigan under Jim Harbaugh’s regime. In their history, the Wolverines have 44 first-round NFL Draft picks, including 17 top-10 picks.

While Gary’s box score production likely never matched the hype that he arrived on campus with due to his recruiting ranking, Gary began his career as a productive second-string player behind Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton, then emerged as a first-team All-Big Ten player last season. Last fall, he also won the team’s defensive lineman of the year award, and was part of a unit that included fellow All-Big Ten defensive linemen Mo Hurst Jr. and Chase Winovich.

A season-long injury to the AC joint in his shoulder withheld his production this season and caused him to miss three games, but Gary returned to action for the final four games of the regular season to finish the year with 44 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in nine games for the Wolverines.


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