Posted: 3:52 pm Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
The younger brother of one of the best basketball players in state history turned down the opportunity to join his sister at North Carolina in order to play football at Georgia Tech.
AJ Gray, a 3-star athlete from Washington County High School, committed to Georgia Tech over North Carolina after making an unofficial visit with the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday. Gray is Georgia Tech’s second commitment for its 2015 football recruiting class.
“It’s a good football team; they have a great campus and great coaches,” Gray told the AJC.
The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Gray is an All-State quarterback who was named Georgia Sportswriters Class AAA Player of the Year after leading his team to the Class AAA state championship game. He will play safety at Georgia Tech.
His older sister is Allisha Gray, the 2012 Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year who now plays at North Carolina. Their father is Dr. Allen Gray, principal at Washington County.
“My sister told me that she’s happy for me as long as I’m happy,” AJ said. “She just wanted the best for me.”
Gray was won over by Georgia Tech because he was aggressively recruited by the Yellow Jackets and made to feel like a top priority.
“Everyone kind of thought he would go to North Carolina, but he just got a good vibe about Georgia Tech,” Washington County coach Joel Ingram said. “He really likes (assistant) Andy McCollum, and (assistant) Mike Sewak did a really good job of recruiting him.
“AJ’s family, they know the business. They went through the recruiting process with his sister. They know when schools are trying to buy time or genuinely interested. They felt genuine interest from Georgia Tech. Tech wanted AJ now.
“We’re excited. Georgia Tech is a top-notch education, and they’re recruiting him as a safety. He has always kind of liked Georgia Tech. When they put the offer on the table, he realized that’s what he wanted. And he’ll stick to it.”
This past year as a junior, Gray rushed for 1,324 yards and 18 touchdowns, while passing for 1,913 yards and 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Gray also started on defense, registering 75 tackles and five interceptions.
“The thing Tech likes about him is that he’s a safety-athlete who can probably be a big safety or he could grow into an outside linebacker,” Ingram said. “He’s an outstanding safety. He’s a very intelligent. He’s one of the best basketball players in Class AAA, too.
“He’s smooth and deceptive. He’s not going to wow you with his speed but it’s just like basketball – he’s smoothing along, and all of sudden you look up and see him dunking. It’s the same way in football. He’s got that ‘game gear’ and ‘game speed.’ He seems to make plays in games that count the most.
Gray said he hasn’t decided whether or not he will try to walk-on Georgia Tech’s basketball team. One of his football teammates at Washington County, linebacker Logan Hunt, also has an offer from the Yellow Jackets.
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