ND Gives Gray Thumbs Up to Play With Injury

SAN ANTONIO - Gary Gray showed up in San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with a tweaked ankle and a slight tear in his shoulder. At the East's first practice on Monday, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound corner looked a step slower than his usual self.

"A little bit, I am kind of sluggish," Gray said. "I've been limping around a little bit. I‘m going to try and push through it."

Gray battled through both injuries during his final season at Richland High in N.E. Columbia, S.C.

A week from Thursday, Gray will start at Notre Dame as one of three early enrollees in the 2007 recruiting class, with running back Armando Allen and quarterback Jimmy Clausen being the other two. Instead of being cautious, the Irish coaches have given Gray the thumbs up to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.

"(Irish defensive backs) coach (Bill) Lewis told me to go hard all week and see how much I can take," Gray explained. "When I get up there, they will give me a full physical."

Gray still held his own against the nation's best on the first day.

"It's a chance, all these guys, you probably go against average guys at your school, but out here it's talented," he said. "It's real intense, guys flying to the football and stuff like that."

Gray is used to the zone coverage with a little man mixed in the scheme. He is just trying to grip the details of playing against more talented players.

"It's mostly mental with me, knowing where to be at the right time."

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