Maleik Gray isn’t visiting several prospective schools like most other highly rated prospects.. Still, a handful of schools have risen above the pack.
Gray said he’s still considering all of his 20-plus scholarship offers but relayed to SEC Country that Florida State, Tennessee, Southern California, Clemson and Alabama stand out the most. That’s tough competition for the Vols, who expected to host Gray for their junior day in February. However, Gray’s basketball season got in the way. The four-star athlete prospect from LaVergne (Tenn.) High School said he’s not sure exactly when or where he’ll visit. For now, basketball comes first.
Tennessee certainly has the in-state allure. Gray expressed fondness for the Vols when asked what the advantages would be playing at Tennessee.
“It would be good for me to be able to go (to Tennessee) because I would be able to stay close to home and be close to my family,” the 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect said.
Gray said an opportunity to play early, academics and academic support will be keys in his recruitment. Distance from home doesn’t seem to be too much of a factor.
“I really want to go where I can be successful,” said Gray, who is rated as the No. 3 athlete in the nation and the No. 3 overall prospect in Tennessee. “I know…it would kind of be hard for my mom to make it to my games if I live further away but I’m pretty sure she would try to come to each and every game or she could watch it on T.V.”
Athletically, Gray is a coach’s dream. He has shown the ability to play outside linebacker, strong safety, receiver, running back, kick returner and punt returner in high school.
“I think I’m really aggressive,” Gray said. “I can change direction with speed really quick. I can get the ball at its highest peak. I think I’m really good with my eyes.”
Gray seems likely to end up playing defense in college. However, which position is another matter.
“Most schools project me as a safety, some an outside linebacker depending on how much weight I put on,” he said.
Tennessee is also interested in Gray’s teammate: Three-star receiver Princeton Fant. The 6-2, 205-pound prospect has reported nine scholarship offers, including one from the Vols. Gray said he’d prefer to continue their playing career together at Tennessee.
“I would like that,” Gray said. “They’ve (college coaches) actually talked about that. That would be something cool to do, having a high school teammate (in college).”
All player ranking and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.