St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet four-star cornerback Christian Gray is the latest class of 2023 prospect to announce his commitment to the University of Notre Dame. The 6-0, 175-pounder has long been a top of the board target for the Fighting Irish and on July 4, there were fireworks that landed in favor of head coach Marcus Freeman and his staff.
Gray, the No. 94 overall player in the country, No. 10 cornerback nationally and No. 4 prospect in the state of Missouri, chose Notre Dame over scholarship offers from all over the country. The Fighting Irish beat LSU, Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Arizona State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon and many others.
For Notre Dame, this is a recruitment won by Freeman, cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens and director of recruiting Chad Bowden. This trio was relentless throughout the process. Despite a push from LSU and Gray’s former high school head coach Robert Steepleswho is the cornerbacks coach in Baton Rouge, Notre Dame was able to get it done.
“It was a very big deal to me and my mom. She was so happy. I can’t even explain it. She was jumping up and down. She was so happy. I was like, what happened? What happened? She told me coach Freeman got the job. I said, ‘Yes sir!’ It was so much fun the entire day. We texted him and called him and said congrats,” said Gray back when he learned Freeman was the new head coach at Notre Dame. “Coach Freeman cares more about the kids, his kids, other kids , because that’s what is more important to him because he wants to help others instead of his own self and his own brand.
“It’s just really, really fun being with coach Chad. It’s just fun every time, every minute,” added Gray of Bowden. “When we talk serious, you can feel it when he talks serious. That is when you talk serious and that’s when it’s a good chemistry with him. He can communicate well with everyone. It’s fun being around him.”
This commitment gives Notre Dame two high-profile, Top100 cornerbacks in Gray and Micah Bellwho committed to the Fighting Irish on July 1. That duo will be tough to top from a national perspective and they both have helped Notre Dame pull further ahead with the No. 1 class according to the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings.
247 Sports Scouting Report: Gray has the type of length and frame that you want in a cornerback. With the growth potential to add weight to his 6-foot-0, 170-pound frame only makes his long term development that much more encouraging. He already has a defined build with good lean muscle mass as well as possessing a 75.25 inch wingspan and 9-inch hand. By having good definition and development in his quads and hamstrings it allows him to generate power and explosion. He has a very good change of direction and ability to flip his hips to get in and out of his breaks. Does a nice job in his back-pedal of gaining ground and depth in relation to the receiver. Gray is able to stay square and balanced on his opponent when he is in coverage. I like his ability to plant and drive along with redirecting when he has to. He shows that he is comfortable in both press and off coverage, where he keeps leverage on the receiver and patience when the ball is in the air. Flashes good football intelligence is displayed by his ability to read and react once the play is in motion as he is a constant factor in both the run or pass game. He is also a willing tackler and shows his instincts by constantly being around the ball making plays. Gray is an active player that brings a lot to the table with his overall skills and traits. Whether it is in the return game as a kick or punt returner he shows his value. I like the overall value that he brings the field and his ability to showcase tools all over the field. With the growth and development that he has left physically and within his game being a power-5 starter is in his future. Long term he has what it takes to be a guy that has an NFL future.