Originally posted on Checkerboard Chatter  |  Last updated 11/9/11



This past Tuesday, Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers picked up their 19th commitment of the 2012 recruiting season. Daniel Gray, a 3-star standout CB from Boyd Anderson High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL, decided he was ready to end his recruiting process and play his ball in Knoxville. This commitment came out of nowhere, and the coaching staff will be the first to tell you that. Gray is not a guy that many Vol fans who follow recruiting closely were expecting to see commit, at least at this point. Some have been negative on the message boards regarding his commitment, and then the smarter crowd trusts the evaluation process of a group of talented recruiters. He is 6’0’’ 175 lbs., runs a 4.37 40-yard dash, plays physical, and loves to hit. Rivals’ recruiting insider, Jamie Newberg, had this to say about Gray in a recent write-up:

“I was a little busy earlier, but I told Kevin about the first time I saw Gray. Down in Miami at the South Florida Express tryouts, all the top names were there. Immediately Daniel Gray was the guy that nobody knew about, but looked like he could play.

After watching him for a while, I wouldn't say he was one of the best prospects there, but his raw physical ability was on par with any of the other big names there...Duke Johnson, Stacey Coley, Deon Bush, Tracy Howard.

Everything down in Miami is a little different from what you are used to seeing. At the end they weren't running 40's, but they were racing them. First time up, Gray smoked Tracy Howard in a 40 yard race. Then they all ran, Duke, Howard and some others. Gray won again, this time he looked over his shoulder at Duke Johnson who was trailing him.

Kid’s got elite speed. The rest needs work, but I believe it'll come. Watch those highlights, the unteachable stuff like his speed and the "want-to" to hit somebody is there. The rest can be taught.”

I think Newberg makes such a great point about this kid’s intangibles. If that raw physical ability is there, as well as the attitude and work ethic, then this guy will do great things at the next level. But I’d have to say my favorite line in that write-up is, “kid’s got elite speed.” This excites me on so many levels. It is obvious when watching the Vols this season that they are lacking speed, particularly in the secondary. Dooley has professed multiple times that he wants to get bigger and faster as a whole, and the addition of Gray helps with the latter part of that goal.

There are questions as to how the addition of the impressive CB will affect other targets on the coaching staff’s list. There are still several DB prospects that are interested in the Vols, such as Elston, Diggs, Joseph, and others. However, open spots are starting to get slim. At the end of the day, Gray is an excellent pickup for the Vols, and he is a guy that has so much upside it’s ridiculous. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this kid to make an impact on the field in 2012.

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