The recruitment of J.T. Gray, the Mississippi-born athlete that moved to Arizona a few years back, is in a transitional phase. He has an offer from Ole Miss, sure. And not long ago, it seemed as though that mattered. He said he always considered Mississippi home and had a certain place in his heart for the Rebels.
Somewhere between then and now, things changed. It's not that Gray had some abrupt change of heart or fell out of love with the state or the program. It's just that the fire has burned out. The spark, as they say, is gone.
"I haven't been in contact with them in a long time," Gray said of the Rebels on Friday. "I don't know what's happening there."
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And so new favorites to land his services have emerged. Ole Miss, of course, is nowhere to be found among them. Instead, the list has a different feel. It also includes a school from his new home state. Whatever the cause, Gray is a man with a new point of view.
"Right now, I would say my favorite schools are probably Arizona State, Washington and Mississippi State," Gray said.
But the most recent offer he received made an impression despite that fact that Gray knows little about the school behind it. It's not a secret that modern prospects have an eye for style, and Cincinnati's uniforms are apparently a selling point that work. Asked which recent offer stands out from the rest, the three-star prospect looked toward the Midwest.
"I don't know much about Cincinnati," Gray said. "But, right now, their uniforms have me hyped up. I think I am going to go out there and use one of my official visits for them."
Gray says there is also a dream school in play - a school he grew up rooting for, even he if can't explain why. He has received a few generic letters from Texas to this point, but the Coolidge (Ariz.) High School junior wants to hear more.
"Texas is the school I love," he said. "They sent me some flyers and pictures this week, but it's just the normal stuff that's not really from a coach. I hope I get in contact with them."
The Longhorns will have plenty of time to reach out, as Gray does not intend to make a commitment until after his senior season at Coolidge.
As a sophomore a season ago, Gray recorded 112 total tackles, intercepted a pair of passes and recovered a fumble. He also ran for 914 yards and 15 touchdowns on just 60 carries.