June 17, 2016
The Ole Miss Rebels added a defensive playmaker to their 2017 recruiting class Friday in the form of outside linebacker Willie Gay.
The 6′ ½,”, 215-pound Gay is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and the No. 132 player overall, No. 11 outside linebacker and No. 3 prospect from the state of Mississippi in the 2017 class.
Gay made the decision official on Twitter:
Being from Mississippi, Gay generated plenty of interest from SEC schools during his recruiting cycle.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss were the only schools to garner Crystal Ball predictions from 247Sports, but Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M also showed interest.
It wasn’t just SEC schools that pursued Gay, as Michigan and Oklahoma also recruited the linebacker. Gay discussed what he was looking for in the various programs, per Drew Champlin of AL.com: “I’m just looking for a school that knows what they want to do with me and has a plan and just feels like they can use me in their program.”
Based on talent alone, Gay’s new school should find plenty of opportunities to use him.
The first thing that jumps out is his athleticism, which allows him to drop back into coverage and hang with tight ends, although he is quick enough to pressure opposing quarterbacks on blitzes off the edge as well.
Hudl.com shared some of Gay’s highlights from his junior season in 2015:
Scout.com, which noted “his speed is one of his biggest strengths,” pointed out Gay’s ability to play in space, attack running backs in the box and close on tackles with his speed.
The versatile linebacker has the overall talent to contribute right away for his new school, even in the SEC. He is a three-down type of player and has the potential to develop into a star defender at the next level.
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