When Gary Gray (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) traveled to South Bend for an unofficial visit during August it appeared that his commitment to South Carolina was in jeopardy. A short time later Gray decided to open up his recruitment and yesterday he ended it by committing to Notre Dame.
"All the coaches meeting were yesterday and he made his decision when he was speaking with coach Weis," Gray's coach Duane Wagus replied when asked about Gary's official visit to South Bend this past weekend. "He called South Carolina because he didn't want take a visit when he was already committed to Notre Dame. He wasn't going to lead them on when he wasn't going to change his mind."
Notre Dame had an opportunity to prove that they were an elite team, but Michigan exposed several weaknesses. Those weaknesses might have made Grays' resolve to select Notre Dame stronger."The defense was on the field too long and they didn't have enough depth," coach Wagus explained. "When you leave a team on the field against Michigan with an offensive line like theirs it's going to be tough. They need help in the secondary.
"Going in we knew it was going to be a tough game. When you play a national schedule like that, it's tough to go undefeated. It's very hard to go undefeated when you play back-to-back Georgia Tech, Penn State and Michigan. It's hard to get up every week to play a top-notch team like that. It just shows that they need players like Gary."
Gary did get a chance to spend time with several Notre Dame players and the other recruits that were in town.
"He got along with all the players real well," coach Wagus said. "He's been friends with Jimmy already. He was hanging with (Joseph) Barksdale, Greg Little and everybody. Notre Dame is in for a special class if those kids come to Notre Dame.
The decision to walk away from the school he grew up cheering for as a child wasn't easy for Gray. Leaving his friends and family won't be easy either, but he is ready to take the next step.
"I'm going to miss South Carolina a little, but I just had to make the best decision for me and that's Notre Dame," Gray said of his commitment to Notre Dame. "There are no questions at all; I'm going to Notre Dame.
"The education is a big part of my decision -- they graduate everybody. The education is a good backbone if football doesn't work out. If I don't get to the NFL, I'll have my degree from Notre Dame.
"Also my relationship with my position coach, Bill Lewis," Gray explained. "He's a well-spoken person, he's a good communicator… he's just a well-rounded guy. I talked to Raeshon (McNeil) about him my second visit and he said coach Lewis was a good guy. He said he wasn't going to yell at you, he's going to critique your mistakes…he teaches you."