Five-star cornerback Gary Gray from Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast is leaning toward heading out-of-state to play his college football, the former South Carolina commit told ESPN on Saturday.
"Right now, I'm thinking Notre Dame 60-40 over South Carolina," Gray told a reporter during a live interview halftime of the Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central-Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes contest Saturday afternoon in Duncan, S.C.
This is the first time during the recruiting process that Gray has publicly stated that any school other than South Carolina is his leader.
Gray, the nation's No. 3 overall cornerback prospect, committed to the in-state Gamecocks in March, but de-committed in July, stating that he was open between South Carolina and Notre Dame. He took an unofficial visit to South Bend just prior to making his decision to de-commit public. Even after he went public with his de-commitment, Gray went on the record multiple times saying that the hometown Gamecocks were in the lead.
Gray is scheduled to make an official visit to Notre Dame the weekend of Sept. 15, when the Fighting Irish play host to Michigan. He will visit South Carolina officially the weekend of Sept. 29. The Gamecocks have a Thursday night contest with Auburn that week. He also is expected to visit South Carolina unofficially for the Gamecocks home contest with Georgia the weekend of Sept. 9.
He plans to announce his final choice following those visits.
Gray isn't the only highly-touted prospect from a southern state that Notre Dame currently is battling the in-state SEC program for. A pair of Tennessee prospects, Knoxville Catholic athlete Harrison Smith and Huntingdon linebacker Chris Donald appear to be down to Tennessee and Notre Dame, and with West Monroe (La.) defensive lineman Will Blackwell has the Fighting Irish in his top two, along with LSU.
Gray is a five-star rated prospect and is the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of South Carolina, according to Rivals.com.