By: Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 25, 2018
Lausanne Collegiate School (Memphis) running back Eric Gray received his All-American Bowl jersey Thursday at his school as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“I always dreamed about it and put it on my vision board,” Gray told USA TODAY. “It’s just about the people that came before me. Ezekiel Elliott, Joe Thomas. The Rondell Moore kid at Purdue was just in this game last year. It’s amazing to see what the guys who play in this game do at the next level.
“I know I’m blessed. All these awards, they’re all glory to God through me.”
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound running back is one of the top players at his position in the country, ranked No. 3 nationally among all purpose backs, and is also a top-10 prospect in the state of Tennessee, according to 247Sports.
Gray committed to Michigan in July, and despite taking official visits to Ole Miss and Tennessee since, he’s still convinced that the Wolverines are the right program for him.
“With Michigan I felt that coach Jay Harbaugh was the best running back coach for me because of the drills and the things he does,” Gray said. “And the homely atmosphere I felt there in June when I was there and campus was empty, I still felt like I was home even though it’s 11 hours away from Memphis. I’ll miss my family, I’ll miss the barbecue.”
About that barbecue: Gray says he’ll particularly miss his chicken and pork shoulder favorites, but that all of that, and the other comforts of home, come behind the influence he can have on the world around him. He’s taken a critical step in that direction as a senior, fundraising for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by soliciting donations for each touchdown he scores. Combined with placekicking teammate Isaac Weiss, the duo has raised more than $18,000.
Gray will bring some of that larger perspective, as well as committed, determined running, to the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.
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