Red River decision: Tennessee transfer Eric Gray down to Oklahoma and Texas

Eric Gray, Tennessee Volunteers. (Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Gray, Tennessee Volunteers. (Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports) /

After two years with the Tennessee football program, running back Eric Gray is transferring.

Tennessee football fans have come to grips that they are losing former four-star running back Eric Gray to the transfer portal. He is reportedly either transferring to the Oklahoma Sooners or the Texas Longhorns ahead of his true junior season.

Gray’s former Tennessee teammate Ty Chandler transferred to the North Carolina Tar Heels this winter. With the Volunteers still looking for a new head coach, a mass exodus of talent like this was expected. The Memphis native will be taking his talents to the Big 12, according to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. The question is if he will have more success playing for Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma or with Steve Sarkisian at now Texas.

Could Eric Gray tip the scales with his impending Red River decision?

If Gray went to Oklahoma, he would be going to a team in need of a star running back. Rhamondre Stevenson has decided to turn pro. He had a phenomenal season taking over for Trey Sermon in Norman. Factor in that Oklahoma has won the last six Big 12 Championships and has made the College Football Playoff four times over that span, and his decision should be an easy one, right?

However, this is a new era of Texas football. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is now running the ship in Austin. With his “all gas, no brakes” approach to the quick rebuild, Texas could be back before we know it. Playing alongside Bijan Robinson in the Longhorns backfield could be very appealing to a player like Gray, who is used to sharing the workload.

Ultimately, either of these spots will be infinitely better than what Gray experienced in Knoxville. Because last year did not count, Gray would have three years worth of eligibility wherever he transfers, should he feel so inclined. Oklahoma may be the better team, but if Gray links up with Robinson in Sarkisian’s offense, Texas may have the best back in the Big 12 outside of Iowa State.

Where Gray elects to transfer to will have a big effect on the upper tier of the Big 12 hierarchy.

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