CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- North Carolina isn’t in the triumvirate of schools to offer Jeremiah Gray, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety. But, it’s definitely interested in the NFL legacy, who recently transferred crosstown to Charlotte Christian.
“From his film and from what I’ve seen from him working out with us, you see some raw ability -- there’s no doubt about it,” Christian head coach Jason Estep said. “He’s a big, raw, talented athlete that needs to keep going. He has a lot of upside. He’s a big safety -- we’ve never had a safety that big.”
In January, Gray transferred to Charlotte Christian from Ardrey Kell High. Christian returns most of its starters from a 10-2 team, but one of the few defensive starters lost to graduation was Beau Snuggs, an NCISAA All-State free safety.
“If Jeremiah has the ability to run the backend for us -- communicate and understand what we do -- I see him a fit there [at free safety],” Estep said. “But, he’s such a big body, do you insert him in the box and use him as a run fit guy? I don’t know; we’re going to have to see. I think there’s a lot of things we can do with him.”
At Ardrey Kell, Gray spent his freshman season on junior varsity. A big developmental jump the subsequent offseason contributed to his leap to the varsity’s starting free safety spot. After four games, Gray compiled two interceptions and 25 tackles. The next week, though, he broke his arm in practice forcing him to miss the next four games.
During his freshman year, Brigham Young offered Gray a scholarship. He added a Wake Forest offer after working out at its camp. Penn State joined the offer party when he visited during this past season.
“I think everybody else is kind of like us: they’re trying to figure him out,” Estep said. “They’re wowed by his size, but they might want to see him move around in camp a little bit. I wouldn’t be shocked to see everybody on him once he shows what he can do in camp.”
Further complicating its “figuring out,” UNC has changed defensive back coaches since Gray camped at the school last summer.
“Coach Gunter Brewer, he wanted me to come back up pretty soon,” Gray said. “I think I’ll probably be back up in the spring and I’ll probably go to camp. I haven’t set everything up, yet.”
In addition to UNC, Penn State, and Wake Forest, Gray has visited Clemson, NC State, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech.
“I would say, obviously, that all my offering schools have caught my eye; especially the way Penn State did it right before the Ohio State game -- that was pretty amazing,” Gray said. “At Wake Forest, you might not win a national championship, but you know you’re going to get a solid school. And BYU offered me when I was a freshman, so they believed in me before anyone else ever did.
“I also like Clemson. I’ve been up there twice and their facilities are just amazing. And you know the coaching is going to be really good. Dabo [Swinney] gave a really, really good speak when I was up there.”
After graduating from BYU, Gray’s father, Derwin, played safety in the NFL (Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers). ... Gray used to play basketball and he considered running track, but he instead elected to participate in speed training this offseason… Gray plans to pursue a degree in communications.