Michigan lineman Rashan Gary to enter NFL draft

Michigan Wolverines junior defensive lineman Rashan Gary announced Monday he will forego his senior season to enter the 2019 NFL draft.

Gary, a third-year player, would still have one more year of eligibility after this season, but decided not to pass up a projected first-round ranking in the upcoming draft. He is ranked No. 8 on Mel Kiper's most recent Big Board.

"I would like to thank my higher power, my family, the University of Michigan, the students and the fans, but I will be forgoing my senior season to make a dream come true to declare for the draft," Gary said in the statement.

Gary was the highest-ranked recruit to sign with Michigan as the No. 1 prospect in the 2016 class -- Jim Harbaugh's first full recruiting class with the Wolverines. From Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey, Gary followed his former head coach and current Michigan safeties coach, Chris Partridge, to Ann Arbor.

The decorated lineman played in 12 games as a true freshman for the Wolverines, recording 23 total tackles and five tackles for loss in 2016 and was a first-team All-Big Ten player after his 2017 season. Over his three-year career, Gary accounted for 136 total tackles and 10 sacks.

As a preseason All-American, he played in only nine games this season because of a shoulder issue, but the injury is not lingering and Gary is still regarded as a top-end NFL draft prospect. ESPN's Todd McShay currently has Gary as the No. 5 prospect eligible for the upcoming draft, behind fellow defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver.

It is not yet known whether Gary will participate in Michigan's upcoming bowl game.