Tennessee RB Eric Gray transferring to Oklahoma after leading Vols in rushing during 2020 season

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Oklahoma landed a commitment from Tennessee transfer running back Eric Gray on Wednesday after Gray led the Volunteers in rushing with 772 yards and four touchdowns on 157 attempts during nine games as a sophomore in the 2020 season. Gray is the third Tennessee transfer to join the Sooners program this offseason, following former five-star offensive lineman Wanya Morris and former four-star defensive back Key Lawrence, who also picked Oklahoma after entering the transfer portal during a tumultuous offseason in Knoxville.

With Oklahoma’s leading rusher from 2020, Rhamondre Stevenson, headed to the NFL Draft, Gray should have an immediate opportunity to compete for carries — should NCAA legislation pass soon that will allow players to transfer once without sitting out a season. Gray has also proven to be a quality pass-catcher, finishing the 2020 season with 30 catches for 254 yards and another two touchdowns

Losing Gray is a blow to the talent level on Josh Heupel’s first team at Tennessee. The former UCF coach, introduced on Wednesday as the new leader of the program, will now have to replace both of the team’s top rushers from 2020 after running back Ty Chandler transferred to North Carolina earlier this offseason.

Heupel said during his introductory press conference that he will not recruit players from UCF to come to Tennessee, saying, “I don’t believe that’s the right thing to do.” But Heupel will likely need to pick up some transfers to restock the Volunteers roster amid a wave of departures after Jeremy Pruitt’s firing as coach. 

There is irony, too, in the fact that three key players have left the Volunteers for Oklahoma. Heupel was Heisman Trophy runner-up for the Sooners in 2000 and spent nine seasons on staff at Oklahoma before he was replaced as offensive coordinator by Lincoln Riley, who is now Oklahoma’s head coach.

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