"Our team finished 4-7 this year," Gary Gray said when asked about his senior season. "It was kind of an up and down season. It was frustrating at times, but I just enjoyed playing with these guys one last time."
Gray played quarterback for his Northeast high school team, but he will end up playing on the defensive side of the ball for the Irish.
"I had about 1,800 total yards on offense and 23 touchdowns," said Gray when asked for his final season stats. "I didn't play much defense this year so I don't know my defensive stats."
"We had a lot of key injuries that hurt us this year," he added. "I guess you could say they kind of keyed on me. Since I was the quarterback, if they shut me down, they shut down our offense. I just wish I could've gone out as a winner for me senior year."
Gray does have a chance to go out as a winner as he has one game left to play, the Army All-American Bowl game. He also recently returned from the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl where he participated as a cornerback.
"That was a really good time," Gray said of his Shrine Bowl experience. "I got to meet a lot of new friends. It also made me better as a player.
"I think I stacked up pretty well against those guys. I didn't get tested much, but when they did throw at me, I think I did pretty well."
Gray said the experience was a learning situation, but for a different reason than most would think.
"The game was really about the kids," Gray explained. "The kids at the Shriner's Hospital, that was what the game was about. It was a cool experience to be involved with and an honor."
The future Irish cornerback also saw his future coach, Irish defensive backs coach Bill Lewis, at a Shrine Bowl practice watching he and Irish defensive end prospect Kerry Neal perform.
"We have a really good relationship," Gray said of Lewis. "He stayed in contact with me even after I committed (to South Carolina). Not a lot, but he'd just check in on me.
"What I like about coach Lewis is he talks to you like an adult. I talked to guys like Darrin Walls and Raeshon McNeil about him and they told it to me straight. They said coach Lewis really coaches you. He doesn't just yell at you when you screw up like some coaches, he teaches you want you need to do. He's always talked to me like an adult and I really like that about him."
Next up for Gray is his final game, the Army All-American Bowl.
"I'm really looking forward to that," Gray said. "It should be really exciting. You're going against the best of the best there. I just want to see where I stand and what I need to work on."
Gray said he's also looking forward to hanging out with some of his future teammates.
"I don't know most of those guys," he said. "I know Jimmy (Clausen). I talk to him. I talk to Chris Donald a little bit. I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of those guys. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
After the Army game, it's off to Notre Dame as Gray will be an early entry student for the Irish this season.
"It's getting really close," Gray said of moving on to college. "I'm starting to get really excited about it. It's somewhat scary, but I know I'll adjust just fine. I'm just looking to jump right into classes and winter workouts. Hopefully I can help the team next year."
Season of Ups and Downs for Gray
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