Stellar, Standard & Subpar: Vincent Gray In 2020

BrandonBrown

We continue our series as we look at each potential contributor on Michigan's roster in numerical order and look at what would be a stellar, standard and subpar season in 2020.

We're on to No. 31, redshirt sophomore cornerback Vincent Gray.

Last year, Gray was part of a three-man rotation made of him, Lavert Hill and Ambry Thomas. Gray was definitely No. 3 on the totem pole starting just one game, but he did play in all 13 and had a pretty productive season as a reserve corner. He finished the year with 20 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and five pass breakups.

As the expected starter opposite Thomas in 2020, what will Gray's season look like?

Stellar

The first part of a stellar season for Gray would involve him locking down the starting spot opposite Thomas. Most expect him to be the guy over there, but cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich has been pretty complimentary of DJ Turner, so earning the No. 2 spot at corner would be step No. 1 for Gray.

Once he's name the guy, it comes down the production. As a first-time starter, I think a season like Thomas' 2019 campaign, with nine-game adjustments taken into account, would be the best case scenario. That would be about 30-35 tackles, two or three interceptions, five or more pass breakups and perhaps a fumble recovery. Thomas has a knack for making plays, so if Gray can bring that to the table that would put Michigan in a great place at cornerback.

Standard

A standard season for Gray would still involve him being the starter, but maybe coming up a bit short in the stat sheets. If he's on the field a lot, only missing snaps here and there for a break or to give some younger players some run, but falls short of 30 tackles and only manages a couple of takeaways, that would be a little disappointing. He's proven that he can tackle, cover and be in the right place at the right time, so opportunities should be there. If he comes up short a few times or doesn't make plays he should, that wouldn't look great, but could be forgiven as a young, first-time starter at a very demanding position.

Subpar

Since Gray is expected to be named a starter, getting passed over by any younger players would definitely be a subpar development. If someone like Turner, Jalen Perry or even true freshman Andre Seldon leaps over Gray, that would be very bad for his future at U-M. If that happens, he could be relegated to special teams and would likely put up very minimal stats, perhaps even less than last year.

My Thoughts

I fully expect Gray to be named the starter and I think he'll play quite a bit; perhaps even more than Thomas did last year. I'm just not convinced that Turner or Perry is ready to step into a full rotation like Gray did last year, but we'll see. 

Last season, Gray showed that he's a physical tackler and he also possesses the length to pose problem for opposing receivers. I actually expect him to have a stellar season where he makes some plays and proves that he's the guy this year and beyond. Defensive coordinator Don Brown said earlier this year that he expects Gray to play on Sunday, and he would know. If Gray is going to make it to the league, it'll start with a stellar season in 2020.

Previous Players

No. 1 — Ambry Thomas
No. 2 — Carlo Kemp
No. 2 — Jake Moody
No. 3 — Quinn Nordin
No. 4 — Nico Collins
No. 5 — Joe Milton
No. 6 — DJ Turner
No. 6 — Cornelius Johnson
No. 8 — Ronnie Bell
No. 10 — Dylan McCaffrey
No. 12 — Josh Ross
No. 12 — Chris Evans
No. 15 — Chris Hinton
No. 15 — Giles Jackson
No. 17 — Sammy Faustin
No. 18 — Luiji Vilain
No. 19 — Kwity Paye
No. 19 — Mike Sainristil
No. 20 — Brad Hawkins
No. 22 — Gemon Green
No. 23 — Michael Barrett
No. 24 — Zach Charbonnet
No. 25 — Hassan Haskins
No. 30 — Daxton Hill

THANKS FOR READING WOLVERINE DIGEST
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