Joel Gray is rated as the 17th best offensive tackle for the 2009 recruiting class. With his offer list approaching 30, Gray told NoleDigest that he's started the process of taking visits to some of his favorite schools.
"Overall this process has been going well as I am at 24 offers now. The reality of all of this is exciting to me knowing that 24 schools want to pay for my education. I went over to Texas Tech again a few weeks ago for another visit. This one was lower key because I have been there a few times now. I talked and hung out with the players; overall it was a good visit. The week after that I went out to California and visited Stanford. It went very well. I like the coaching staff a lot because they're younger guys. Coach Harbaugh and his staff are cool and seem energetic. Plus, Stanford's education is one of the best in the nation."
Florida State is one of the more recent schools that have entered the picture for Joel. This weekend he had his first opportunity to speak to Coach Trickett after having previous conversations with recruiting coordinator James Coley. The conversation went well, but what impact did it have on Gray and his recruitment.
"The conversation with Coach Trickett was good. It was the first time I've spoken to him and the conversation lasted like 20 or 30 minutes. We talked about Florida State, his beliefs, his past and how he uses his linemen. I definitely liked what he had to say. He is a cool guy who demands a lot from his guys. A lot of coaches are like that and with Coach Trickett he will make you work and help you establish yourself as a player."
"I have also had a few conversations with Coach Coley. We talked about me maybe coming there for a visit sometime in July or early August. It just depends on what is going on because I need to be working out with my teammates and how much money it's going to take. I am going to have to think about it. If I find the time I will make another trip out east to see schools like FSU and Louisville."
Florida State likes Gray a lot as a tackle prospect, but at this time it seems like they are trailing some other programs. He said he feels two schools are starting to pull away, but says it's not too late for FSU to get into the thick of things with him.
"Right now I would say Texas Tech and Stanford are starting to pull away. With FSU what I need to do is build more of a relationship with the coaches and make a visit there to see how comfortable I would be going there. I know that Florida State is an established program and that they know how to win. I just have some thinking to do. This whole thing is just a big process and I am trying to figure out what I have to do that's best for me."
Gray told NoleDigest that he is planning on making his decision in August, saying he wants to go through his senior year enjoying his last year in high school.
I'm having fun with all of this, but at the same time I want to end it August. We just started working out at my school and that is going well. I need to focus on getting my legs stronger. That is my main goal. I feel ending this process in August will help me enjoy my senior season and year more. When I get to college I can worry about college things. I just want to enjoy my last year in high school."
Florida State has made a good impression on Joel, but it seems like they've gotten in a little too late. If he actually comes to Tallahassee for a visit FSU will have a good shot as any to land the coveted lineman's commitment in August. Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Gray's recruitment and to see if he does make the crucial visit in a month's time.