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Georgia Tech Football: Five Breakout Players in 2016 - S AJ Gray

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This one’s a no-brainer

Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Countdown to Kickoff: 71 Days

This week, our “100 Days to Kickoff series continues as we look at five players who are primed to have a bigger role and be invaluable to the team in 2016. There are players every year that seem to step up at the right time and make a difference. This week, we’ll be selecting players who have the ability to have those breakout performances that will take the team to the next level this fall.

S AJ Gray - Sophomore

Nobody at all should be surprised that AJ Gray is listed in this series. People have been expecting great things from him since he before he signed his letter of intent. And now, after some early playing time last year, Gray is going to get a golden opportunity to show what he’s got this season.

Coming to Georgia Tech, Gray was rated as a three-star recruit by both Rivals (5.7) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8640). But looking at his time in high school and some of his accomplishments, you can’t help but wonder why he wasn’t rated higher. Here are just some of his accomplishments: 2014 Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Georgia, Parade All-American, a 442-yard, eight TD performance in the state playoffs, 17 different player of the year awards, two-time Region 3-AAA player of the year, and that’s only some of the things he did.

Anyway, all that’s in the past now, so let’s take a look at why he’s going to break out this year. Mostly, the reason he’s going to break out is become he’s getting more playing time this year. Had he come in as a starter last year, he wouldn’t be on this list because he would have already broken out.

In his 10 games last year, he finished with 21 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.

This year, he will be stepping into one of the two vacated safety spots (my gut says free safety) and from there, I know one thing: he’s going to be a good one.