A Gray Area

Wisconsin is short on scholarships and has only a few remaining as it tries to finish off its 2012 recruiting class. But with so many other talented players still on the market, it appears Wisconsin might get creative.

MADISON - With less than a week before the first day of college football's national signing period, the University of Wisconsin is making a big push to fill its roster with some of the top talent in the country.

Players like five-star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond, four-star safety Demetrious Cox, three-star lineman Jake Meador and top in-state lineman Levon Myers to name a few are all expected to drop in on Madison this weekend.

But with limited scholarship numbers the next two signing periods, the Badgers are relying on some talented walk-ons to fill the void. They also are hoping to take advantage of UW's track program when it comes to a speedster like Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) receiver Kolby Gray.

"I am still being recruited by them," Gray told Badger Nation. "I told them personally that I would come to Wisconsin as long as I could do football and track."

The Badgers have had a number of scholarship athletes in recent years do both sports – Brian Calhoun, Casey Dehn, Kyle Jefferson, Joe Thomas and Nick Toon to name a few – but all those athletes were on football scholarships. In Gray's situation, Wisconsin would benefit from Gray's talents without having a scholarship count against its limit of 85.

"They said they are working on a scholarship with the track coaches, so that's what I am kind of waiting on," said Gray. "If they could get me a track scholarship, it would be a good opportunity for me. It would be a change of scenery and a different look for me."

After his team went 0-10 his junior year, Fort Lauderdale improved to 4-6 this past season because of Gray's production, as he lead the team with 2,000 all-purpose yards and finishing with roughly 30 tackles playing cornerback.

"We started off a lot better than last year," said Gray. "The first game, we put up 62 points, which almost broke our school record for points in a game."

More importantly, Gray got his academics in order. Once failing to reach the minimum GPA standard to be approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, Gray is standing solid at a 2.4 and has a goal of graduating with a 2.6.

"I had to take some classes that challenged me and some AP classes that my school provided," Gray said. "I wanted to push myself to prepare myself for that freshman and sophomore year in college. I want schools to feel like they are giving me a chance rather than taking a chance on me."

One of the persons that was instrumental in his academic turnaround was co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge. Partridge showed enough faith in Gray that he offered him a Wisconsin scholarship before he was even eligible to compete, something that meant a lot to Gray and still does.

"We keep in touch and tells me that they haven't forgotten about me," said Gray. "They said they were really focused on the season, which was why we didn't talk all the time, but we've talked since their season ended. It's not all about sports either. He asks me about my family and life in general."

Gray is still looking to take some visits and plans to sign a couple weeks after national signing day, a decision he made so he can see more schools and not rush his decision. In addition to the potential opportunity he has at Wisconsin, Gray would like to take visits to Middle Tennessee, Memphis, Northern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

"Those are the main schools still recruiting me," said Gray. "I want to give these schools a reason to recruit me."

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