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Recruiting

NFL legacy recruit: Swinney's speech 'one of the best I've ever heard'

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Rising recruit Jeremiah Gray was back on Clemson’s campus Saturday for the Tigers’ emphatic victory over South Carolina after visiting for the game against N.C. State in October.

Gray, a 2019 safety from Ardrey Kell High in Charlotte, N.C., and the son of former NFL safety Derwin Gray, spoke with The Clemson Insider about his time in Clemson.

“It was awesome. It was an absolute massacre,” Gray said of the game. “Really enjoyed the environment and the fans. The environment is truly electric.”

Before the game, Gray was given a tour of Clemson’s football facilities, including the new $55 million football complex that will be completed in January, and he came away impressed.

“It will be everything a student-athlete needs to be successful on the field and in the classroom,” Gray said.

Gray was even more impressed by a speech from head coach Dabo Swinney to the recruits on the vision of Clemson football.

“It was one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard,” Gray said. “I was most impressed when coach Dabo said, ‘We want to serve the players’ hearts, not their talent,’ and when he said, ‘I’m looking for good people who happen to be good football players.’”

Gray was first offered in January by BYU, where his dad played from 1989-92. Derwin went on to be selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL Draft and played five seasons with the Colts before joining the Carolina Panthers in 1998.

Wake Forest followed with an offer to Gray over the summer, and most recently, Penn State pulled the trigger on an offer following his visit for the Nittany Lions’ game against Ohio State in late October.

Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Pittsburgh and Virginia are also showing interest right now.

Gray chatted with his area recruiter, Clemson special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Danny Pearman, and defensive backs coach Mike Reed on Saturday.

“Coach Pearman just told me to ‘soak the experience in,’” Gray said.

As for Reed, Gray has begun to build a good relationship with him, and he foresees that bond becoming fortified as time goes on.

“I did feel like I got to know him better,” Gray said. “It’s still very early in my recruitment, so I anticipate growing our relationship over the next several months.”

Gray was recently one of only 600 athletes nationally to receive an invitation to the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Bowl national combine, which will take place from Jan. 5-7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the Penn State visit and pair of Clemson visits, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has been to Wake Forest, Virginia and N.C. State this season.

Gray hopes to return to Clemson in the spring, and he would love to feel continued interest from the Tigers.

“I’m very impressed by Clemson academically and the football program as a whole,” Gray said. “Coach Dabo and his staff appear to be developing great players and people who do positive things in society.

“So yes, I’m hoping Clemson will continue to be interested in me.”

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