Irish offer 2017 four-star
One of the top sophomore prospects in the South is four-star outside linebacker Maleik Gray of La Vergne (Tenn.) High. Gray already touts an impressive group of offers, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Last week, Notre Dame joined that list.
“Honestly, I was really surprised,” Gray said. “It came out of the blue. I was in class, and I got a call from my coach that Notre Dame was offering me.”
Gray later spoke on the phone with Irish defensive line coach Mike Elson about his offer.
“I called Coach Elston after that, and he told me that I was officially being offered,” Gray said. “My high school coach sent him my film, and he said that he loved it and wants to get me on campus as soon as possible.”
Notre Dame is still relatively unfamiliar to Gray as a football program, though he did see the Irish play in person last season.
“I was at the game when they played Florida State,” Gray said. “I don’t know too much about them, but I really like those gold helmets.”
Gray plays both running back and linebacker for La Vergne, and colleges are recruiting him for both positions. Gray said specifics weren’t discussed between him and Elston about where he projects at Notre Dame, though he does have a preference.
“We didn’t discuss that, but I’m hoping it was as a linebacker,” Gray said. “That’s where I feel most comfortable at this point. Most people list me as an athlete right now. In my opinion, I pursue the ball really well and I catch the ball at its highest point. I’m good at changing direction and accelerating quickly.”
Florida State is the stand-alone leader in Gray’s recruitment, and two SEC programs round out the 6-foot-2, 195-pound athlete’s top three.
“I’m still open to any college and I plan on taking official visits in a couple of years, but right now my heart is with Florida State,” Gray said. “Tennessee and LSU are in my top three.”
“Academics are going to be very important to me, and when I getting more involved in recruiting, I’m going to really look into that.”
Gray plans to visit Tennessee for junior day on March. 24.