By March 1st, Joel Gray will have appeared on the guest list of the Who's Who of Big 12 football. The athletic tackle from Lewisville Hebron is one of the top offensive linemen in the state and has been hearing from the top schools in the region since his sophomore year, when he burst onto the scene as a starter on a loaded Hebron squad.
Gray packs an unbelievable blend of strength, athleticism, and power into his 6-foot-6, 280-pound frame, but his physical talent isn't the only thing that has colleges hot on his trail. Talk to anyone who knows Gray, and they'll tell you that even though Gray is a monster on the field, he's somewhat of a gentle giant off it, and is one of the most respectful, articulate, and well-rounded athletes you'll ever find. When you combine that with what he does in the trenches, and you've got yourself a superstar in the making.
So, it should come as no surprise that every major program worth hearing from in the southwest has invited Gray to their junior day.
"Well, I already went to A&M's, and then on the 2nd I went to OU's," explained the well-spoken junior. "Then on the 23rd I'll be going to Texas', and then the last one will be Tech's on the 1st of March. I think that'll be it for my spring traveling and all that."
Though he's certainly used to hearing each school's best pitch as to why he should choose their school, the two-year starter says he's going to wait a while before announcing a choice.
"I don't really care what happens, I'm going to wait a while to decide," he said of the sales pitches he receives at junior days. "I want to make sure I've evaluated all of my options before I make that commitment, because that's a big deal to me. As soon as I've seen all of my schools and feel at home somewhere, that's when I'll commit."
Though Gray doesn't have a finite leader as of now, he does have a short list of schools who stick out in his mind.
"Well, I don't have a top five," he joked. "I've got a top six. It's Tech, A&M, OU, UT, Stanford, and Notre Dame. Those are the schools I'm really looking at and the ones that I really like."
Gray's first offer, which is currently his only offer, came from the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the tackle hasn't forgotten about them.
"I really like Tech," he explained. "I actually talked to Coach Littrell and Coach Moore last night and both of those were just excellent conversations. They're great guys and they're really easy to talk to."
Though Gray has been nothing but dominant on the field, it appears that a few schools are waiting to see just how strong his rehabilitated knee is before pulling the trigger on an official offer. However, Tech has stood by their original offer throughout the injury, and Gray says that there's nothing to be worried about.
"My knee is doing great," said Gray. "I'm back to 100-percent and I'm working out at full speed and everything. It feels great, so I'm just working back to where I was and making sure that I get everything ready for next year and helping my team out."