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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Decision Day | 2023 Four-Star CB Christian Gray

July 4, 2022
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2023 De Smet (Mo.) cornerback Christian Gray‍ will make his college decision on Monday afternoon at 5:00 PM ET.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder is one of the most coveted cornerbacks in the country and his finalists reflect Gray’s elite potential. Gray will choose between LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC following a heated battle between the four programs over the last year. 

Notre Dame has recruited Gray the hardest and most consistently over the last year and it was well-received as the St. Louis native made his way to campus multiple times. In fact, Gray was in South Bend almost as much as 2023 linebacker commit Drayk Bowen over the last 12 months. 

Marcus Freeman, Mike Mickens and Chad Bowden have played significant roles in Gray’s recruitment and the relationships are an area Gray has highlighted multiple times. 

In fact, this recruitment probably could have been over much sooner, but Gray’s former high school coach and longtime mentor, Robert Steeples, took the cornerbacks coach job at LSU at the end of December. 

It was an unexpected move when Brian Kelly hired Steeples and one that shook up Gray’s recruitment. LSU immediately became a player for the De Smet star and Gray made multiple trips to Baton Rouge over the last six months. 

Ohio State seemed to have momentum early in Gray’s recruitment as his former teammate Jakailin Johnson is set to start for the Buckeyes at cornerback following his freshman season. Gray also has made several trips to Columbus and is comfortable with what he’s experienced at the Midwest powerhouse. 

The Trojans made a push in recent months and hosted Gray this spring for an unofficial visit. That said, it certainly seems like this is a two-team battle between LSU and Notre Dame. Gray had set official visits to Ohio State and USC, but then ended up canceling both trips. 

Gray did take official visits to LSU and Notre Dame in June. We’re told LSU really drove home the academic opportunities and playing Steeples was a major focus during the visit. Looking back, LSU likely was focused on eliminating Ohio State and making Gray’s choice come down to the Irish and Tigers. 

In December, I made a prediction for Notre Dame to land Gray about a week after Freeman was hired and two weeks before Steeples was announced at LSU. The foundation of the pick was Gray knowing he fit at Notre Dame on and off the field, but also with those Notre Dame was prioritizing on the recruiting trail and his relationship with Drayk Bowen.

Notre Dame continued to drive that home on his official visit as he was surrounded by commits and other recruits extremely similar to Gray as they want to reach the NFL, but also understand the importance of academics. 

It’s a tough decision for Gray as his recruitment goes much deeper than football. He has built a strong relationship with Freeman and company, but can Gray tell Steeples he’s not coming? 

We’ll see at 5:00 PM ET. 

Ranking
ISD: 92 (four-star)
247: 92 (four-star) 
Rivals: 6.0 (four-star)
ESPN: 83 (four-star) 
Composite: 95.43 (four-star)

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