Currently being recruited by every major college football program in the country, Avery Gach, a junior at Birmingham Groves High School, has been playing the sport ever since he can remember.
“I started with flag football. There was no offensive lineup, so I played quarterback. I began playing tackle in seventh grade in the same position I play now, offensive tackle. I play defensive end as well,” said Gach, who is 6’5” and 285 pounds.
When Gach was in eighth grade, COVID restrictions put a hold on football. “I finally started hitting the weight room and getting stronger. In ninth grade, I started varsity most of the year,” he recalled. “It’s only my fourth year of playing tackle football, but I had a lot of fun with my senior friends and I learned a lot. We didn’t finish as we wanted and I know how bad it feels to not be playing in the playoffs. I am wanting more for next season. I want to do better.”
His future looks bright, with the many schools trying to recruit him include the University of Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, University of Wisconsin, University of Georgia and University of Southern California.
“It’s hard for me to think about it right now with so many opportunities, but the time will come where I will feel at home somewhere,” said Gach, who looks forward to his official visits in the spring when he will get to know the university staff and the players. “I’m just enjoying the process right now.”
Gach also enjoys the game. “There is nothing like football. It is the most ‘team sport’ you can get,” he said. “You can’t just be a great player.”
His biggest challenge right now is to not overthink everything. “You have to just go out there and have fun and trust the process,” added Gach.
Endurance is essential. “In football, your body goes through so much adversity with pain and injuries during the season. You have to be tough. It’s one of the toughest sports out there,” said Gach, who plans to major in business in college and hopes to pursue the NFL. He is a Lions fan and he also likes the Kansas City Chiefs.
Special highlights for him so far include his first Division 1 offer from the University of Toledo. “I put in so much hard work. It was a big relief that a college believed in me,” he said. Ohio State would soon follow. “That was the huge offer for me,” Gach recalled. “The achievement feels so much better when you know how much effort you put into something.”
There have been other memorable moments. “I’ll never forget the game last season when we beat Livonia Franklin to get into the semis,” he said. “College wise, the Michigan – Ohio State game [this year] was a thrill to witness in person. It was one of my favorite games I’ve been to.”
Gach stays busy during his downtime. “I love hanging out with my buddies and I spend a lot of time in the weight room training and preparing myself for the season.”
His parents are proud of him. “Avery is such a good son and terrific big brother. He’s also a very good, hardworking student and I always hear from teachers, coaches and parents how respectful and nice he is,” said his father, David. “It’s honestly what gives my wife Amy and I the most pride. He hasn’t changed at all in the last couple years since his journey has expanded and taken us all over the country to meet with different college coaches.”
Story: Jeanine Matlow
Photo: Laurie Tennent