The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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60 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2018   COMMITMENT PROFILE Heading into the weekend of Jan. 19, Michigan already had commitments from four of the longer, taller defensive backs in the country. DeSoto (Texas) High three-star safety German Green (6-2, 180), DeSoto (Texas) High four-star cornerback Gemon Green (6-2, 173), Atlanta Westlake four-star cornerback Myles Sims (6-3, 173) and Naples (Fla.) High three- star cornerback Sammy Faustin (6-2, 170) were all signed, but that didn't keep the staff from bringing in Rochester (Mich.) Adams three-star cornerback Vincent Gray for an official visit. The one-time Missouri com- mit had just opened his recruit- ment up and decided to check out the hometown Wolverines. Before leaving Ann Arbor, the 6-2, 165-pounder had commit- ted to U-M and brought Michi- gan's long, athletic defensive back total up to five. Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt has been observing Gray for a couple of years and has always noticed his combina- tion of length and athleticism. "What made Gray a highly coveted prospect late in the process is that he is a tall cornerback," Helmholdt said. "College coaches are enamored with height at the cornerback position, overly so in my opinion. In general, height and fluidity are inversely pro- portional, and so most times coaches are trading a cornerback's ability to flip his hips smoothly for a couple extra inches of height. "Why we had Gray highly rated from the early stages of the process, though, was because he is one of those rare cornerbacks who possess both height and fluidity." Adams head coach Tony Patritto also knows about Gray's rare combi- nation of length, quickness and ath- leticism, and certainly used it to his team's favor. "We play against some of the best competition in the state, and we always stuck him on the other team's best receiver," Patritto said. "He held [West Bloomfield High three-star wide receiver and Wisconsin signee] A.J. Abbott to one catch and Bloomfield Hills' Ty Slazinski to just two catches. "When we needed him he re- ally stepped up and did a good job of locking guys down. He's pretty special." The Michigan staff obviously recognized Gray's abilities as well. The senior cornerback recapped his official visit to Michigan and repeated what his future position coach and defensive coordinator told him during film study. "Coach [Don] Brown and Coach [Mike] Zordich said that they love my press man skills, and they think I can play any de- fensive back position that they have," Gray explained."They are both really cool and good coaches. They definitely know a lot about the game." Gray isn't the type of kid to search out the spotlight, so he's very happy to be done with the recruiting pro- cess. Down the stretch the process got a little bumpy, but he's very pleased with how it all turned out. "It's always tough telling some- one no, especially because I had built up a relationship with those coaches," Gray said of the Missouri staff. "I chose Michigan because I felt comfortable there, it isn't too far from home, and I like the oppor- tunities that I will have athletically and academically. "I felt that there was no point in waiting any longer. The process is stressful and overwhelming, so get- ting it over with and being 100 per- cent committed to Michigan feels great." After a solid season at cornerback Gray was named to The Detroit Free Press All-North squad and was also dubbed a member of The Detroit News All-State first team for Divisions 1 and 2. rates Gray as the No. 14 prospect in Michigan and the No. 56 cornerback in the country. — Brandon Brown FILM EVALUATION Strengths: Vincent Gray's strengths are his ability to cover with fluidity and his length. He's 6-2 and extremely long, which allows him to cover just about anyone. He also has plus ball skills as a very solid high school wide receiver, mak- ing him a threat to intercept passes that might be tips or knock downs by other defensive backs. Areas Of Improvement: Gray is quite thin and needs to add a lot of strength. Throwing another 20 to 30 pounds onto his frame is realistic and necessary for him to hold up in the Big Ten. Coverage shouldn't be an issue but being able to make tackles against big backs and receivers along with tight ends could be an issue if he doesn't take well to the training table. Michigan Player Comparison: Because of his athleticism, length, and cover- age skills as a thin defensive back who needs to work on the physical side of the game, Gray compares favorably to Channing Stribling. Gray is probably smoother and faster than Stribling, but both can really cover. Stribling would've benefit- ted from some added weight while in college, and Gray certainly can as he gets ready to start his career at U-M. — Analysis from The 6-2, 165-pound Gray is listed as the No. 14 player in Michigan and the No. 56 cornerback nationally by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM/NICK LUCERO Michigan Lands Another Long, Athletic Defensive Back In Vincent Gray

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