One of the best defensive players to ever suit up for Texas is returning to the Forty Acres. Texas announced this afternoon that former Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach Jerry Gray is has been named assistant head coach and defensive backs coach.
Gray played defensive back for the Longhorns from 1981 to 1984. He was a two-time All-American and a two-time Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year. A first round draft pick of the LA Rams, Gray played in the NFL for nine years.
After his playing career ended, he spent two years with SMU as defensive backs coach. He then moved up to coaching in the NFL, with stints at the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills, and the Washington Redskins. He spent this last season with the Seattle Seahawks.
This morning, it was revealed that Duane Akina was leaving for the University of Arizona. Just a few hours later, his announcement was announced. It turns out it’s someone whose coaching season just ended yesterday.
At the very least, Mack Brown wasn’t surprised by Akina’s departure. It wouldn’t surprise me if Akina was encouraged to look elsewhere.
While he’s done a great job coaching up defensive backs, and has a well deserved reputation as for getting DBs into the NFL, Akina’s defensive backs have been weak as a unit. They were regularly out of position this last season, and were beat for countless big plays.
Gray is known as one of the best position coaches in the NFL. I would expect that will translate well to the college ranks.
What is an unknown is how he is as a recruiter, but given the recruiting talent we currently have, we can afford for that not to be his strong point.
This is truly an exciting opportunity for me and my family. Not very many guys get the chance to come back and coach where they played and to do that at a place that is as special as Texas. It’s just an unbelievable opportunity. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Coach Brown, and I’ve been so proud watching everything they’ve been accomplishing since he took over, and to have a chance to be a part of that is a dream come true.
Coach Brown added:
Jerry brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program having spent 14 years coaching in the NFL, including five as a defensive coordinator, and helping develop our own Earl Thomas this past year in Seattle. We’ve all had a chance to get to know Jerry over the years on his visits back to Austin and really look forward to him joining our staff. I know our guys will be excited to move forward with such a great Longhorn.
Wow! When does next season start?