2020 Season Countdown: #17 Vincent Gray

2020 Season Countdown: #17 Vincent Gray

September 25, 2020
Vincent Gray

Name: Vincent Gray
190 lbs.
High school: 
Rochester (MI) Adams
Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: 
#31 #4
Last year: 
I ranked Gray #25 and said he would be a backup cornerback (LINK). He made 20 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 5 pass breakups.
TTB Rating:

Gray entered the 2019 season as a likely backup to Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas, but for a short time, it looked like he might be pressed into significantly more duty when Thomas was hospitalized with colitis. Luckily, Thomas recovered and Gray had some wiggle room to grow and learn. Gray made one start throughout the season and got a pretty good grade from PFF, notching 5 pass breakups in that backup role. While he didn’t make many big plays, he was in position to flail and be physical and avoid getting beaten much.

This year Gray was expected to be the #2 corner behind Thomas, but Thomas has opted out in favor of preparing for the NFL Draft. That leaves Gray as perhaps the #1 corner on the team as the most experienced guy. All other options have been garbage timers or haven’t seen the field in college yet. Gray has good length, but his speed and quickness are a little bit of a question mark. He makes me nervous if he’s matched up against some of the better receivers in the league, but cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich and defensive coordinator Don Brown have worked wonders with corners overall, with the lone exception of when they come up against Ohio State.

Prediction: Starting cornerback


  1. Avatar
    Comments: 22
    Joined: 8/20/2015
    Sep 25, 2020 at 7:29 AM

    That’s gonna be a yikes from me dog. 17 is a good spot for him, but as the #1 corner….I don’t know what has me more worried at this point.

    -Breaking in 4 new starters on the O-line (Maximum trust in Ed Warriner)
    -A new starting QB who was #3 last year (Joe Milton…aiming for Josh Allen as a realistic comp)
    -Our #1 Corner was our #3 corner last year, and to me is Brandon Watson….solid player who can be counted on, but not your #1 (Don Brown and company have worked wonders before)
    -DT in general…our starters don’t inspire and our depth isn’t any better (Please be good Hinton and Smith)

    I think I understand the counter-arguments against my points and am very excited to see the season that these guys and the coaches put together, but this team is built on hope and optimism at this point.

    I’d love to be proven wrong and if someone has better counters or practice info, please share


    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6278
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Sep 25, 2020 at 2:54 PM

      Those are the top 4 to me as well. I’d rank them like this in order of greatest concern

      1. DT – depth is flimsy even if Hinton pan out. Seems like it will be a weakness at best and a season-destroyer at worst.

      2. QB – Milton is unproven but beat out Peters and then McCaffrey so plenty of optimism. Still – it’s the most important position by far so any uncertainty is a big deal.

      3. CB – trust Zordich but recruiting has been not great last few years

      4. OL – trust Warriner and recruiting HAS been great last few years

  2. Lanknows
    Comments: 6278
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Sep 25, 2020 at 2:59 PM

    Obviously higher with Thomas off the board and probably even with him.

    Gray vs Bateman in Week 1 could set the tone for the whole season.

    CB is typically 3 guys rotating into 2 spots. Gray is critical as 1 of the 3 and the other 2 are TBD. Dax Hill might have to slide in if a couple guys don’t step up fast.

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 47
    Joined: 1/2/2016
    Sep 27, 2020 at 8:04 AM

    I might be in the minority on this, but cornerback is the position group I worry about more than any other this upcoming season, with the possible exception of QB. Losing Thomas to me is huge.

  4. UM_1973
    Comments: 109
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    Sep 27, 2020 at 12:28 PM

    The CB is worrisome only in the context of beating OSU. To win games against the rest of the Big Ten (including Penn State and Wisconsin), the CBs we have are probably “good enough”.

    In my opinion, the biggest reason we have not been able to beat OSU is because OSU has been able to target one of our CB with their excellent WR.

    Unless, our offense is able to score in the 40s against OSU, I do not see how we can beat them this year.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3839
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 27, 2020 at 12:36 PM

      I agree. Unfortunately, I think if Michigan is going to win against OSU, it’s going to have to be in shootout fashion. Like 45-42 or 51-45 or something. The time has passed to try to beat them 24-17 or something like that, unless something crazy happens (injuries to key players at QB/WR/OL).

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 6278
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Sep 28, 2020 at 1:59 PM

      Agree in general – the offense needs to ascend to another level for us to win the conference.

      That said, there’s some pretty good WR talent in the west this year. We skip playing Rondale Moore thankfully but Bateman and Philyor could create a lot of problems for our defense and we know Don Brown is not going to back down from those kind of one-on-one matchups even if they are killing us.

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