March 19, 2008

Big Texas OL names top six

A chance encounter almost a year ago has put Ole Miss in the race for Lewisville (Hebron HS), Texas offensive tackle Joel Gray.

Gray was practicing spring football and being observed by then Arkansas tight ends coach James Shibest. During the practice Gray tore an ACL and Shibest left a business card with the Hebron coaches that lead to relationship between Shibest and Gray that continues today.

"He left his card and I called him, so we have stayed in touch," Gray said Tuesday afternoon. "I really think a lot of coach Shibest."

That relationship has resulted in Ole Miss extending a scholarship offer to Gray and in the process, joining four other schools.

In addition to Ole Miss, Gray has received offers from Texas Tech, Arizona, Texas A&M, and Houston.

Gray is also receiving letters from Notre Dame, Stanford and Virginia.

Gray, a 6-foot-6, says he's excited about the Ole Miss offer, but is still researching schools and thinking over his options.

"The same coaches that recruited me at Arkansas are recruiting me now for Ole Miss," Gray said. "I like coach Shibest and I like coach (Houston) Nutt. I've heard so many good things about them. I want to go see the school for myself and learn more about it."

"Ole Miss, I'm definitely interested," Gray said. "I know they've been successful and are respected. I watched several of their games on TV and I saw enough that I want to find out more."

The offensive tackle prospect has attended junior days at Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.

While he says he thinks he finished with junior days, he is planning to either camp or take unofficial visits - or both - this summer at Ole Miss, Stanford, Virginia, and Notre Dame.

Gray said he really doesn't have a favorite and wants to wait to see how things develop during his high school's spring practice, he was quick to reel off his top six.

"Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Arizona, Stanford, Notre Dame, and Ole Miss," he said.

After tearing his ACL last spring, Gray made a rapid rehab, only missing the first three games of his junior season. He ended up playing in 11 of his team's 14 games which included playing through four rounds of the state playoffs.

For his efforts, he was named to all district and all region teams and was also selected to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl junior combine.

He said he is completed healed from his knee injury.

"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."

Gray has an impressive 3.45 GPA and plans to take the ACT for the first time in May.

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