The Maryland Terrapins football team picked up their fifth commitment of the 2014 class Saturday evening, as Andrew Gray announced his intentions to play his college ball at the university. Gray will be joining fellow 2014 players Will Ulmer (QB, St. John’s College), Jared Cohen (OG, McDonough HS), Jonathan Thomas (RB, St. John’s Prep), and David Shaw (DE, Spring Grove Senior High).
Gray, the 6’4, 215-pound tight end, hails from Big Ten country in Chardon, Ohio. He is set to become the first player Maryland has recruited from that state since they picked up kicker Travis Baltz in 2007. Gray chose Maryland over a number of other offers, including ones to Louisville, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Ohio, and Toledo.
Last season for Chardon High School, Gray caught 12 passes for about 200 yards; he also recorded four sacks for his team on the opposite side of the football as a defensive end. His on-field performance last season led to calls by top tier D-1 programs, including a personal phone call from Urban Meyer himself.
As for the analysis part of Gray’s game, I watched a few clips of his games (as well as a highlight reel which can be found here) and what I saw was a solid player who wasn’t particularly fast or slow. The kid is definitively a blocking tight end, and looks like he comes from a read-option offense. That’s probably part of the reason why the coaching staff went after him, because he would likely fit in perfectly in the offense Maryland is likely to install. A lot of instances on the highlight film just show him sealing off opposing rusher very effectively, as he seemed a lot stronger than most kids he played against.
Whether he was underutilized or just plain wasn’t good enough at catching, his role in the offense was meager outside of blocking. There were a few instances where he caught the ball in tight space (with his hands, mind you), and didn’t seem so slow that he would never be an option at the next level. In a red-zone/short yardage scenario, one could envision Gray becoming a target for the ball since he’s so strong on his feet. There’s not going to be much of a chance to knock him over given his strength.
Regardless, grabbing a recruit from Ohio means a lot for a Maryland team that will be competing for players with midwestern powerhouses in the near future. The move to the Big Ten suggests that Maryland may be able to start poaching talent from Ohio, and this is a sign of that. Gray may only be a three-star (and even then, only one recruiting service had him listed as such), but bringing him in means one less player for opposing Big Ten schools to look at. If he blows up his senior year, then great for Maryland. If he doesn’t, the Terps get a solid blocker who could work great in a Will Ulmer-led offense, and create an inroad in a state they rarely get players from.
It’s a win-win for Maryland this early in the 2014 recruiting period to grab a guy like Gray, and we’re excited to have him as the latest addition to the Terp Nation family.
As part of our rookie hazing tradition (and by tradition I mean something I just started), here’s an awkward interview Gray gives after a big win last year:
*Note: Gray comes off as the kind of player anyone would want to play with, and seems like an unselfish kid who will lay himself out for the team