As a Recruit
A.J. Gray committed to Georgia Tech out of Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia in March 2014. He did just about everything for WCHS, including playing quarterback and safety. Even though he has shown potential to play on offense, he signed with Tech as a safety.
Gray is the second Washington County High School player to sign with Georgia Tech in the Paul Johnson era, joining current Minnesota Viking linebacker Brandon Watts (2009).
Being just the second commit for the class, Gray has been locked in with the Jackets and hasn't entertained other offers despite having a monster senior season. His only other reported power-5 conference offer was from North Carolina. Good decision A.J.
Before we get to the film, I'd like to throw some statistics from Gray's ridiculous senior year. The 2015 Parade All-American was named as the player of the year in Georgia by the AJC, yet he's still not ranked in the top 50 in the state according to 247 sports. Gray finished 2014 with 2,358 rushing yards for 39 touchdowns, 1,810 passing yards for 21 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions for four touchdowns. That's 4,168 total yards and 64 touchdowns. Wow.
Most of A.J.'s film is from offense, but defense is where's he'll most likely make his mark at Georgia Tech. I do believe he could make an impact on offense at some point, but at safety he'll have a chance to come right in and battle for playing time as a freshman.
Gray swarms to the ball and looks like he'll be very good at run support from the secondary. There's not too much film of his coverage skills, but you can see that he can go up and make a play on the ball, and he obviously has the ability to turn a turnover into a touchdown in a hurry. His incredible athleticism will put him in position to be an elite safety by the time he's done at the Flats.
What to Expect
With Isaiah Johnson's departure, the strong safety position has opened up with two returning experienced players that could fit in - Demond Smith and Corey Griffin. Smith saw an extended amount of playing time due to the Jackets fielding three safeties so often. Joining Gray at safety in the 2015 class is David Curry. Smith and Griffin have the upper hand due to their experience last year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Gray avoid the redshirt and make an impact his freshman season.
Welcome A.J. Gray!
How do you like his film? Do you think he could play on offense? Does he have a chance to start as a safety?