July 16, 2012

Longhorns knocking on the JUCO door again?

Defensive end Randy Gregory arrived at Arizona Western C.C. in Yuma, Ariz., committed to Purdue University. Almost a year later his commitment remains intact, but that has not stopped college coaches from showing interest.

Pass-rushing defensive ends that tip the scales at 6-foot-6, 240-pounds tend to draw attention and with what Gregory did on the field as a freshman in 2011, he certainly was not going to stay under the radar. Twice he earned conference defensive player of the week honors, he was named first-team all-conference, and he tallied 82 tackles, 21 TFLs, and nine sacks despite not starting until the fifth week of the season.

If that was not enough, he continued to progress throughout the spring, so if he was unknown to college coaches before he certainly was not after.

"I have about eight offers right now, but other than that there's only a couple of schools that are sending me stuff," Gregory said. "Kansas sent me something and I think during spring my coach said about 35 schools came in and they were all interested. The whole situation with Purdue, I don't know if anyone wants to take a serious step towards me until I de-commit."

Holding offers from Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa St., Kansas, Louisville, Oregon St., and Utah in addition to Purdue, Gregory has his share of options if he chooses to look. A few weeks ago Texas started to get involved. The Longhorns did not offer, but they gave Gregory plenty to think about.

"Coach Diaz said I'm real athletic and lanky," Gregory said. "They said they liked what they saw on the spring film and I improved throughout the year as far as my highlights and making plays. They think I'm one of the best pass rushers in the nation as far as the JUCO ranks. The last few years they've pretty much excelled at that and they hope I can come in and do the same thing."

The Longhorns introduced the idea of Gregory possibly making an unofficial visit this summer, and while intrigued by the interest, the timing has not worked out since Gregory is currently taking summer classes and is heading back to Arizona July 28.

The interest from Texas and others has caused a few thoughts about de-committing to creep into his mind, but he is still not ready to make that decision at this point.

"I feel like Purdue is the right school for me but I kind of want to see…I'm going to wait until the season starts and I might actually open it up and see who really takes me seriously," Gregory said. "Then after that take my official visits and make my decision after that, but I have a pretty strong commitment right now."

If he did de-commit, he says Purdue would definitely stay in the mix and he currently does not know any other schools he would consider.

"Outside of Purdue I don't really have a top school. It's kind of complicated. I don't really have a top school other than Purdue," he said. "Like I've said schools have offered and if I decide to make that step toward de-committing I can really see who I'm interested in. Right now I'm really trying to focus on my school work so I can make sure I get out in December and putting on this weight so I can get ready for this season."

Before his senior season at Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern, Gregory gave the Boiilermakers his commitment. When he did not qualify academically, the Boilermakers stood by him suggesting he attend either Iowa Western or Arizona Western. In the months leading up to his departure to Arizona Western, he also flirted with the idea of sitting out a year and playing basketball in the MAC, but since he arrived at Arizona Western he has focused solely on football and it has helped him gain about 30 pounds.

Gregory was recruited to Purdue by Mark Hagen, who has since taken a job as Indiana's special teams and recruiting coordinator/defensive tackles coach.

Growing up, Gregory and his family lived all over the country. He was born in Jacksonville, Fla., before his family moved to Tennessee, where his mother is from, a few months later. The family also lived in Alabama, Ohio, and Missouri, before settling in Indiana when Gregory was in the seventh grade. His parents currently live in Michigan and he also has family in Tennessee, New York, and Maryland.

Even though he has moved around playing close to family is certainly something he plans to take into consideration.

"I've always wanted to stay close. My parents go to every game and having a chance to play in front of all of my friends would be a big deal for me," Gregory said. "But going to Arizona let me get used to being so away from my family and my friends and playing and not having my parents in the stands every game. It would be a big deal to play close to home, but if I were to go away to a big program that would play on TV every week so my parents and friends can see me."

Gregory is currently on schedule to graduate in December, and is currently ranked a three-star prospect. As a high school senior in the 2011 class, Gregory was a three-star prospect and ranked No. 19 in Indiana. He recorded 110 tackles and 6.5 sacks in his senior campaign.

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