Minnesota Gophers wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, is a top-3 NCAA wide receiver. At this point, that can’t be argued. The only question about his first round status in next year’s NFL Draft, is how high he will go. When Bateman opted back in for 2020, everything about this season’s expectations changed for the Gophers.
So when Michigan Wolverines coach, Jim Harbaugh, went on record this week and said a redshirt sophomore CB would be on an island with Bateman on Saturday night, everyone was confused.
It doesn’t sound like #Michigan plans on double teaming Rashod Bateman with bracket coverage this Saturday, instead putting Vincent Gray on an island to cover the talented receiver.— Eric Rutter (@EricRutterWD) October 20, 2020
That is one way to go about it I suppose.
Who is Vincent Gray
Vincent Gray is a 3-star cornerback out of Rochester Michigan, who decided to stay home and try making it with him favorite hometown club. Now, just 2.5 years later, he’s (apparently) Michigan’s best corner. Gray is skinny and lanky, coming in at 6’2″, 185 pounds. He physically looked smaller than the other Wolverine CB’s last season.
His stature and style reminds me a lot of Trae Waynes because he’s not afraid to take his skinny body and launch it into running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers who might have 50+ pounds on him. He doesn’t wrap up or have the speed Waynes did at Michigan State, however.
Nor does Gray have the experience or clout Trae had by the time he was tasked with covering the Big Ten’s best WR’s. When I first saw the tweet about Gray vs Bateman in single coverage (embedded above), I figured the Wolverines had a stud CB who’s already been dominating his competition for a couple of years. Or maybe even a standout redshirt recruit who has limited, but filthy tape in his short time at the University of Michigan.
I found neither of those things.
2019 Vincent Gray
2019 Vincent Gray was a tall, skinny cornerback who didn’t start any games but got plenty of run. He didn’t find the field at all vs Army, Rutgers or Penn State. In the other nine games, he rotated in with other Michigan CB’s and saw the field about 2/3 of the time. He accumulated ZERO interceptions and 5 passes defended on the season. His next interception will be the first of his college career.
When you look past the numbers… Vincent was ok. In complete honesty, I saw some nice things out of Gray and he seems like someone who could develop into a good corner. He just didn’t see the field enough or have the snaps necessary against top wide receivers, to even be thought of as a 1st-tier Big Ten CB.
I just didn’t see much in his 2019 tape that screamed “difference maker”. When he did catch my attention, it seemed to be negative more often than it was positive.
Michigan's defense only allowed two touchdowns vs Notre Dame last year. This is one of them.— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 23, 2020
#31 in blue is Vincent Gray. ?? pic.twitter.com/5nqQ5s63VX
These tweets and videos have really triggered Michigan fans and I’m not sure why. Did they even know this guy played on their team last season? Wouldn’t you be concerned if a relatively unknown CB was about to be dropped onto an island with Rashod Bateman?
I’ve been made very aware of the 33% completion he allowed in his coverage (supposedly) last season and numbers are awesome. They’re a lot of fun.
But I spent my Friday watching most of Vincent Gray snaps from 2019 and I’m just telling you what I saw with my own two eyes. Michigan fans better hope that Harbaugh was bluffing or Rashod Bateman might go off for 200 yards and 3 TD’s.
Tomorrow morning I’m deep diving this Vince Gray dude, the Michigan CB who’s supposedly manning-up on Rashod Bateman Saturday.— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 23, 2020
Can’t imagine it ends well for the away team… but I’m open to change. #Gophers pic.twitter.com/T0u8mTCH3a
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan