Florida is expected to hire Virginia Tech defensive backs coach Torrian Gray to the same position, according to a Wednesday report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated. The Gainesville Sun confirmed Gray will be hired later on Wednesday, and Andy Bitter of the Roanoake Times confirmed it on the Virginia Tech end on Thursday.
Gray had been rumored as a potential replacement for outgoing DBs coach Kirk Callahan, and would be confirmation of Florida going with a simple plan of replacing Callahan with an external hire rather than shuffling the Gators' staff.
He would also likely be an upgrade on the young Callahan, whose firing was linked to a lack of top-level recruiting of defensive backs and a lack of discernable improvement on the field. Gray has coached defensive backs at Virginia Tech since 2006, making him one of the longest-tenured position coaches in the country. It also makes him the coach of record for Kam Chancellor and Brandon Flowers, each of whom have made Pro Bowls, and Kyle Fuller, a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
All told, Virginia Tech has had nine defensive backs drafted since the 2007 NFL Draft, or the first one after a full year of Gray's coaching, and will add at least a 10th in April, when All-American Kendall Fuller, a five-star recruit in the class of 2013, is selected.
Development wouldn't seem to be an issue for Gray, especially given that Chancellor came to Blacksburg as a quarterback, and he certainly gets a checkmark for recruiting if the Fullers can be attributed to his work.
But there's another pair of points in Gray's favor: He's from Florida, and he's seen a variety of different levels of football. Born and raised in Lakeland, Gray left the state to go to Virginia Tech in the mid-1990s, and played briefly in the NFL before becoming Maine's defensive backs coach in 2000. Gray then held the same position for Connecticut and the Chicago Bears before returning to Blacksburg.
Now he's reportedly leaving Blacksburg, where he's spent more than half of his years as an adult, for the state he called home. A fine homecoming it might be.