Lausanne senior Eric Gray with long run just short of a touchdown.
Khari Thompson, The Commercial Appeal
Michigan football has lost a commitment from its 2019 recruiting class.
Eric Gray, a 4-star all-purpose running back from Memphis, Tennessee, announced his decommitment from the program on Saturday morning.
Gray the No. 209 player nationally in 247sports.com’s recruiting rankings.
“I would like to say thank you to coach (Jim) Harbaugh and the entire Michigan staff and all the fans that have supported me,” Gray wrote via Twitter. “However, at this time I feel it’s best for me and my family to re-open my recruitment and de-commit from the University.”
This wasn’t a shocking development on the recruiting trail, as U-M appeared to be fighting upstream in an effort to keep Gray’s commitment during the final push before the early signing period.
Gray originally committed to Michigan back in July. But momentum eventually began to build toward him staying closer to home down south.
“Pessimism is growing on Michigan’s end,” 247Sports analyst Steve Lorenz told the Free Press last month as Gray canceled a visit to Michigan prior to the Wolverines’ home finale against Indiana. “Tennessee and Ole Miss are the other two schools really being considered here. And he’s yet to come back up to Michigan again since he committed. He was supposed to come up this weekend and isn’t now. Michigan was really aiming for him to come up for a home game this year, and it never materialized.”
Gray visited Tennessee the weekend of U-M’s Indiana game instead. He has an official visit to Ole Miss scheduled for Dec. 8.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound back — who has been clocked at 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash — was the third miss on the recruiting trail for Harbaugh and company this week. The Wolverines also lost the race for 4-star quarterback Harrison Bailey, a 2020 Georgia prospect who committed to Tennessee on Wednesday. U-M also lost a 2020 pledge from 3-star running back Tim Baldwin Jr. on Monday.
Harbaugh and his staff have been on the road recruiting this week, as the Wolverines wait for their bowl assignment. Same time, at least two Michigan assistants have been linked to this year’s version of the coaching carousel. Passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, one of Bailey’s primary recruiters, is reportedly a finalist for the Maryland head coaching job. Wide receivers coach Jim McElwain, meanwhile, has emerged as a possible candidate at Central Michigan.
McElwain was on the trail this week, visiting commits Giles Jackson and Cade McNamara in California and Nevada, respectively.
Michigan’s 2019 recruiting class now has 24 commitments. The Wolverines do still have a pledge for 4-star running back Zach Charbonnet, the No. 100-ranked player in the class.
“Stud. Five-star in my opinion. Maybe the best running back Michigan has recruited in 15 years,” Lorenz said of Charbonnet. “Total package, he’s going to enroll early. He’ll play next year. I don’t know who to compare him to. I’ve heard people compare him to maybe a slightly lesser version of Leonard Fournette. He’ll run by you, he’ll run over you, he’s got ‘it.’
247sports ranks U-M’s class No. 8 nationally. The early signing period begins Dec. 19.
Contact Nick Baumgardner: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.