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Reports: Florida defensive backs coach Torrian Gray leaving for NFL

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Florida may need another steward of DBU.

Florida v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Florida Gators defensive backs coach Torrian Gray will leave the Gators for an NFL job, according to multiple reports.

A report from Bob Redman of Fightin’ Gators, Scout’s Florida site, was the first to publicly suggest Gray would leave for the NFL. SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi followed by reporting that Gray will join Washington, which fired veteran NFL assistant Perry Fewell after the 2016 season. Rivals reporter Blake Alderman also confirmed Gray would leave for Washington.

Gray hails from Lakeland, but has spent much of his life in the Mid-Atlantic, having attended Virginia Tech and coached in Blacksburg for nearly a decade. He left Virginia Tech and spent the 2016 season with Florida after being hired to replace Jim McElwain’s first defensive backs coach with the Gators, Kirk Callahan, who was fired in all but name in January 2016 after Florida’s recruiting of defensive backs in the 2016 recruiting cycle left much to be desired.

Gray helped Florida land one of the best defensive back classes in the country in his time on the recruiting trail, with six defensive backs signing or enrolling with the Gators in the 2017 recruiting cycle, including four-star prospects C.J. Henderson, Brad Stewart, and Marco Wilson.

And Florida’s pass defense was fantastic in 2016, with Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson likely playing well enough at corner to merit first-round selections in the 2017 NFL Draft, and safety Marcus Maye likely to spend only slightly longer in the draft pool.

In replacing Gray, McElwain will be filling the third vacancy on his coaching staff to open up since December 2016, when defensive coordinator Geoff Collins left Florida to become Temple’s head coach. Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers also decamped from Gainesville for Louisville in mid-January.

Florida promoted Randy Shannon to defensive coordinator to replace Collins in that role, but did not add another coach during the run-up to National Signing Day, and was still two coaches shy of the NCAA-permitted maximum of nine assistants when it made its furious close to the 2017 recruiting cycle.

Since then, Florida has hired former West Virginia running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider as an assistant — and while the program did not specify Seider’s role, it is likely that he will assume the same position with the Gators, provided that current RBs coach Tim Skipper moves back to the linebackers coach position he has previously held at prior stops in his career.

Speculation on Gray’s successor may focus on LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, who was reportedly one of McElwain’s targets to replace Callahan in 2016 — and it is very much possible that Florida finding Gray’s replacement will take a back seat to finding a replacement for Summers at offensive line coach.