Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Friday night, many Tar Heels fans were still celebrating the commitment of Desmond Evans, but the Heel Tough Blog hit the road again to see 2020 3✮ ATH commit Cedric Gray in his most important game of his senior season. Let’s take a look at how he performed in Friday night’s game.
Gray plays both sides of the football for the Knights, so he was on the field plenty throughout the night. On the offensive side of the ball, Gray was targeted eight times, catching five of those targets for 77 yards. Gray has a great release off the line of scrimmage and is a strong route runner. Gray does a lot of damage after with shiftiness and strength to shake off defenders. He has the ability to go up and get the football and has a huge catch radius, although he wasn’t really able to put that on display on Friday. While he had a solid night offensively, he had a big night for the Knights as part of a defense that shutdown the Olympic offense. Gray was all over the field, racking up 8 total tackles, 3.0 of which were for a loss and 1.0 sack. Gray can play sideline-to-sideline and he has great closing speed that allows him to make plays in the open field and also makes him a weapon in coverage. He has the tackling ability necessary to play linebacker, but his frame is that of a safety. Gray told us that the staff is looking to use him in a hybrid linebacker/safety role, similar to the one Khadry Jackson has been playing so far this season for the Tar Heels. Gray might have to wait to have a major impact, but he has the skill to make a difference on special teams and will be a security blanket at wide receiver if he is ever needed there.
There were a few other standouts on Friday night, led by Ardrey Kell freshman running back Brooks Stankavage. It’s early in his prep career, but his ability to stop and start in the open field and strong back vision makes him a name to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons. Others who had good nights were Ardrey Kell wide receiver Michael Hetzl and quarterback Jared Joseph.