The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 62 of 83

AUGUST 2018 THE WOLVERINE 63   COMMITMENT PROFILE T he Michigan coaching staff iden- tified Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne Collegiate School three-star all-pur- pose back Eric Gray as a target long ago and even had him on campus last summer. For a while, it looked like Gray was going to end up elsewhere. However, recent attention from running backs coach Jay Harbaugh and the rest of Michigan's offensive staff grabbed Gray's consideration again, and now he's a part of the Wolverines' 2019 class. Lausanne head coach Kevin Locas- tro gave both Jim and Jay Harbaugh credit for how they recruited Gray down the stretch of June. "I think Eric is a relationship guy," Locastro said. "He's a kid that puts a lot of value on developing a rapport with someone. It was his relationship with the two Harbaugh coaches that put the Wolverines over the top." Locastro has seen first hand what Gray can do on the field, and it's been nothing short of spectacular. As a freshman in just four games, Gray had 69 carries for 322 yards (4.7 yards per attempt) and one score. He also returned a kick for a touchdown. As a 10th grader, he stepped into a more prominent role, and posted 230 carries for 2,215 yards (9.6 yards per carry) and 38 touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 219 yards and four scores. As a junior, he absolutely exploded. Gray carried the ball 323 times for a whopping 3,151 yards (9.8 yards per attempt) and 45 touchdowns. He caught 11 passes out of the backfield and scored on three of them. He also added a touchdown on a punt return while setting a Shelby County single- season scoring record. Locastro isn't surprised by the pro- duction and feels confident that Gray will be able to recreate some of the success at U-M. "I think his work ethic is his foun- dation," Locastro said. "It helps him be successful. He's our best prac- tice player, and whenever your best player is also your best practice player, it gives you the opportunity to make those guys around you better. "He's got a great skill set. He can make people miss in small spaces. He's added about 15 pounds in mus- cle mass to his frame over the last year and a half, which makes him a more physical runner than he was. "He's probably the best receiver on our team, too. He's got great hands out of the backfield, and he's a good pass protector. He does some pretty remarkable things." Following those stellar sophomore and junior campaigns in which Laus- anne took home state championships after undefeated seasons, Gray was named the state championship game MVP and Tennessee's Mr. Football for his school's division both seasons. He was also the Gatorade Player of the Year last year in Tennessee. USA Today chose Gray as the offensive player of the year in Tennessee as well, and he recently revealed he was invited to the U.S. Army All-Ameri- can Bowl. Locastro also feels like the city of Ann Arbor and a school like Michi- gan should allow Gray to thrive in all arenas. "He's got a pretty good sense of humor," Locastro said. "He's really respectful, he's a yes sir, no sir kid. He's one of those young men that can come sit in your office and get you eye to eye and carry a conversation. He's not intimidated or shy. "He's really well-liked on our campus." Michigan now has a terrific one- two punch in Gray and Westlake Vil- lage (Calif.) Oaks Christian four-star running back Zach Charbonnet. They could form a dangerous thunder and lightning combination down the line. — Brandon Brown Michigan Lands Ultra Productive Running Back Eric Gray FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Eric Gray is listed as an all-purpose back because he's well-rounded and is a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. He is shifty, quick and fast enough, and has very good balance. He is also been very productive and takes care of the ball. Areas Of Improvement: It's tough to find a weakness in Gray's game. He has put up massive numbers in high school despite being on the small side. He's just 5-10 and 185 pounds, so bulking up, getting stronger and staying available will be key during his career at U-M. Michigan Player Comparison: Size-wise and skill-wise, Gray looks a lot like Justice Hayes on tape. Hayes never quite panned out at Michigan, but coming out of high school he was ranked as the No. 85 overall prospect in the country and was extremely productive at Grand Blanc (Mich.) High School. Gray isn't ranked as high, but he has a similar body type and is also versatile as a runner. — Analysis from As a junior, Gray ran 323 times for 3,151 yards and 45 touchdowns, led his team to a state title and was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM Lausanne Collegiate School head coach Kevin Locastro "He's got a great skill set. He can make people miss in small spaces. He's added about 15 pounds in muscle mass to his frame over the last year and a half, which makes him a more physical runner than he was."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - August 2018