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Bay Port’s Gash commits to Michigan

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

SUAMICO – Bay Port running back Isaiah Gash helped lead his team to within a whisker of a WIAA Division 1 state title last fall.

Despite the 5-foot-10 Gash rushing for 185 yards on 32 carries, the Pirates fell to Muskego in the title game, 21-10.

After being named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Large School Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, Gash is taking his talents to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Gash, who rushed for almost 4,500 yards during his career at Bay Port, accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the Wolverines Feb. 10.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Gash, whose father, Sam, had a 12-year NFL career and won a Super Bowl ring in 2000 with the Baltimore Ravens. “It’s a relief to have it all done. I’ve had it in my head the last week to commit to Michigan, but I wanted to be sure. When I told my dad, he said, ‘Go, Blue.’ He wanted the decision to be mine, but I think Michigan was in the back of his mind. He didn’t want to persuade me.”

Gash also received similar offers from Michigan State and Arizona State, and an offer from North Carolina State was in the works.

Former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio stepped down Feb. 4 after 13 seasons, and Gash said that affected his decision.

“I was strongly considering MSU,” said Gash, who also had interest from Division II Minnesota-Duluth. “After visiting and seeing the instability inside Michigan State right now, it was a turn off. I feel the education at Michigan is better, too. Duluth has one of the best Division II football teams in the country, but I wanted to play against the highest level of competition.”

Gash said he spent the early portion of his youth living in Northville, Michigan, about 20 miles from Ann Arbor.

“I moved here after my sixth-grade year,” he said. “On my visit to Michigan, I spent a night with my old friends.”

Gash missed the first two games of the 2019 season with a knee injury but still rushed for 1,916 yards with 30 touchdowns while averaging nine yards per carry for the 13-1 Pirates.

When asked what he has to work on before getting to Michigan, Gash was quick to answer.

“I have to work on everything,” he said. “I have to get faster, bigger and stronger. It’s new football – the highest level you can compete at. I need to become a better athlete all around.”

Gash said he currently weighs 173 pounds but hopes to get his playing weight to 190 or 195.

“I’ll most likely redshirt my freshman year,” he said. “With me being a preferred walk-on, it means I’m at the bottom of the depth chart. Hopefully, with hard work, I’ll become a scholarship player and start with special teams.”

The Wolverines are under the leadership of head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“Coach Harbaugh is an interesting guy,” said Gash, who will study pre-med. “I visited Michigan [Feb. 1], and I talked with him for 20 minutes. He was the first person to call me from Michigan. He’s a great coach and has a vision. He’s building something I’m not sure the world knows about.”

On the Michigan Insider 247 Forum, Michigan’s lead insider Steve Lorenz said, “Michigan loves this kid and feels like they got a scholarship-caliber back.”

Before he heads off to Ann Arbor this summer, Gash will lace up the spikes one final time for the Bay Port track and field team, where he is a state qualifier in the long jump and triple jump.

“I still have unfinished business in track,” he said.

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