We're just outside a month until the opener, people. Proof that the countdown is a magical time warp.
We've got 36 days until kickoff, so today I'll highlight #36 on the Bronco roster—Tyler Gray
#36, Tyler Gray, Sophomore, OLB
Weight: 223 lbs.
High School: Templeton High School, Templeton, CA
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Thank the grayshirt (no pun intended). Gray was a standout linebacker and running back at Templeton High School in California with nearly 350 career tackles to his name. Gray had an offer from San José State, but signed with Hawaii in their 2011 recruiting class. Instead of heading right to the islands, however, Gray was offered an aptly-named grayshirt year and was scheduled to join the Warriors in February of 2012. Gray already had his plane tickets to Hawaii in hand, but had a change of heart when he realized that Hawaii's staff (the staff he'd committed to) would all be gone after the
canning "resignation" of Greg McMackin. So, the sturdy linebacker became a Bronco instead, joining the team in time for Spring camp. Just goes to show you, recruits aren't really "here' until they're here.
"Gandalf the Gray"
Prepare to be smote.
/ˈkɜrnl/ Show Spelled
Played in all 13 of the Broncos games in 2012 as a freshman. CalHiSports first team All-State honors as a senior. All-Los Padres league honoree, as well as All-CIF Southern Section and Tribune All-San Luis Obispo County. Recorded 143 tackles and 5 sacks as a senior at Templeton and rushed for 1,600 yards and 25 TDs.
Gray had a pretty good run in 2012. A late addition to the class, no one much knew where he'd fit into the OLB rotation that used to belong to the tandem of J.C. Percy and Aaron Tevis a year prior—then all of the sudden, he was right in the mix to start at the position, making his presence known early when he nearly picked off a pass in the opening moments of the Michigan State opener. Gray's impressive start paved the way for solid playing time on defense and special teams as the year wore on and he finished with a respectable 27 tackles and an INT. This year, Gray is the odds-on favorite to start at outside linebacker, and indeed has been listed as #1 in the way-too-early MWC media days ddepth chart. Frankly, I'd be surprised if Gray isn't the starter against UW on August 31, but the early depth chart does show some competition looming from an interesting source: Ben Weaver. I think most assumed that Weaver would be Blake Renaud's backup or co-starter this season at middle linebacker, but if the media days depth chart is to be believed, he might be making a move outside, and considering that he was the scout team defensive player of the year last season, I'd say he can and will put some heat on Gray. We could even end up with a co-starting duo at the position ala Percy and Tevis. Theirs was a good arrangement and it kept a fresh LB on field at all times and paired a lanky LB (Tevis) with a stockier one (Percy). A Weaver/Gray pairing would look similar—so while Gray has the experience edge, I don't think a co-starter role would be any kind of indictment of his abilities. At any rate, I expect Gray to play in or start every game this year and should improve his tackle totals and takeaways. I think we can all agree that it's a good thing he never boarded that plane to Hawaii.
Completely made up fact
Unsurprisingly, Gray's favorite color is Chartreuse (Dionza Blue's is Periwinkle).