The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 59 BY BRANDON BROWN Rochester (Mich.) Adams three-star cornerback Vincent Gray didn't pick up his Michigan offer until Dec. 18 and was a Missouri verbal pledge at the time. The 6-2, 180-pounder imme- diately set up an official visit to U-M and committed be- fore heading home. Now signed, he is ready to hone his craft, get stron- ger and show up at Michigan as ready as possible to make an early impact. " T h e c o a c h e s didn't give me any details on what to do specifically," Gray noted. "I'm probably going to start off at corner with the ability to rotate between other positions. "I'm just going to work out and get prepared to com- pete." F o r m e r U - M wideout Ron Bel- lamy is the head coach of Adams op- ponent West Bloom- field and believes Gray will show up more ready than people expect. " I w a s b l o w n away by his level of competition," Bellamy said. "He started on both sides of the ball against us and did an exceptional job each way. He's just a player that you see and immediately say he's a high- caliber athlete. "I think he was under-recruited. The sky's the limit for him at Michi- gan." Midwest recruiting ana- lyst Josh Helmholdt was part of the group that listed Gray as the No. 60 cornerback in the country, but does like his upside. Gray's combination of natural athleticism and length could allow him to outplay his ranking. "He's unique at the cornerback po- sition because of his length and flu- idity," Helmholdt said. "Everyone is looking for long corners and Gray is definitely that. "He's thin and needs to get big- ger, but he has a good frame to do that and should be able to add weight without losing his fluid hips and quick feet." Gray took official visits to West Vir- ginia and Iowa State down the stretch, and it looked like he may end up in Morgantown. Once the Michigan of- fer came through, though, it was a wrap. Adams head coach Tony Patritto was pretty sure that Gray would ulti- mately sign with the Wolverines once he had the chance, and the head coach is glad it played out that way. "To be honest, I'm really happy to see local guys at Michi- gan," Patritto said. "I'm glad that he ended up at Michi- gan because it's lo- cal and I'll be able to see him play. I'm just really excited about watching his career there." Patritto isn't alone, several see the potential in his star senior, thanks to the defender's length and abilities. Gray physically fits in among U- M's four other defensive back signees, all checking in at 6-2 or taller, but once he arrives on campus he'll be looking to distinguish himself from the rest of his secondary classmates. ❏ Michigan Steals In-State CB Vincent Gray Away From Missouri STATISTICS Year Tackles INT 2017 26 1 2016 19 1 2015 15 2 HONORS • Named Division 1-2 All-State as a se- nior — he was a first-team choice by The Detroit News and a second-team selec- tion by the Associated Press. • Ranked the No. 21 player in the state on The Detroit News' Blue Chip list. RECRUITMENT • Committed on Jan. 21, 2018. • Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown and cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich led Gray's recruitment. • Took late-cycle official visits to West Virginia and Iowa State, but was sold after an official visit to Ann Arbor. • Michigan offered Dec. 18, and offers from Duke, Cal, Oregon and UCLA fol- lowed in January. • Originally committed to Missouri on July 21, 2017, but opened things up once U-M offered. DID YOU KNOW? • Born Dec. 28, 1999. • Was a three-year varsity starter that played both ways. THEY SAID IT • Adams head coach Tony Patritto: "I'm excited for him, because I think he'll excel at cornerback. He's really good at playing man-to-man defense and he'll do that a lot at Michigan." • Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt: "Gray could play either safety or corner in college, but I feel that his highest upside is at cornerback. He has the fluidity to turn and run with wide receivers while also possessing excellent height for the po- sition. That makes him more rare at the cornerback position." VINCENT GRAY CORNERBACK 6-2 • 180 ADAMS HIGH SCHOOL ROCHESTER, MICH. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ — 60 14 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 77 20 ✪ ✪ ✪ — 85 25 2018 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE 2018 Projection Gray has really solid length and good speed, and looks a lot like the other cornerbacks committed to U-M in 2018. He also has a lot of natural athleticism and great ball skills as a high school wide re- ceiver, which makes him a threat to pick passes off whenever he's in the area on defense. None of the newly signed defensive backs will necessarily be needed on the field in 2018, but it will be interesting to see who rises to the top of the group and if any of them push for a spot in the two deep. Gray provides U-M with the length and man-to-man coverage ability they are looking for in defensive backs. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 59

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