Michigan football cornerback Vincent Gray declares for 2022 NFL draft

·2 min read

Michigan football lost another starter from this season’s excellent defense Saturday when cornerback Vincent Gray declared for the NFL draft.

Gray, a senior with one season of eligibility remaining, announced his decision on social media.

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for all my many blessings," Gray wrote. "I also want to thank my family and friends for always believing in me. I would not be where I am today without your love, guidance and unconditional support.

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“Thank you to the University of Michigan and the entire Michigan football program for the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you to Coach Harbaugh for your constant mentorship. Thank you for always believing in me and pushing me to be better, both on and off the field. Thank you also to the best fans in college football, I will always be proud to be a part of Wolverine Nation. Go Blue!

“To my teammates, my brothers — it’s been an honor to play alongside of you. The bonds we have cannot be broken and I will always cherish our memories.

“It has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NFL and today I’m moving one step closer to realizing that dream by declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft!”

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A two-year starter, Gray made significant strides under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and new defensive pass game coordinator Steve Clinkscale. Gray benefitted from the reduction in man coverage relative to what he experienced under Don Brown and played with newfound confidence opposite DJ Turner or Gemon Green.

He finished the season with 46 tackles (including 3½ for loss), seven pass breakups and one forced fumble. He held the team’s second-highest coverage grade behind Turner, according to Pro Football Focus, and allowed 12.2 yards per completion.

Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray celebrates a play against Ohio State during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
Michigan defensive back Vincent Gray celebrates a play against Ohio State during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Even though he played four seasons at Michigan, Gray could have returned in 2022 by exercising the extra year of eligibility afforded to all players in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year. But he likely would have found himself in a fight for playing time with Turner, rising sophomore Ja’Den McBurrows and several highly touted freshmen defensive backs featuring five-star cornerback Will Johnson, four-star prospects Keon Sabb, Zeke Berry and Kody Jones and three-star prospect Myles Pollard.

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Gray joins edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, defensive back Daxton Hill and defensive tackle Christopher Hinton as defensive starters who declared for the draft.

Contact Michael Cohen at mcohen@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Cohen13.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football CB Vincent Gray declares for 2022 NFL draft

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