Connor Neal | April 23rd, 2020
Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State #3
Weight: 243 pounds
Games watched: vs Louisville (2019) and Alabama (2018)
Gay Jr. one of the most talented linebackers in this class. He arguably rivals that of Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray in terms of talent. However, despite all his talent, he is a wreck off the field which causes him to fall on many boards as it should. Gay is an athletic linebacker who can tackle very well, has absurd range, and can cover well too.
As you can see below, my grading scale is out of 100 and is graded based on 8 skills: tackling, block shedding, pursuit, coverage ability, instincts, range, blitzing, and athleticism.
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|Gay is a tackle machine, he can slip off blocks to make tackles and hits hard. His tackle radius is also quite impressive.|
|He flashes promise but is wildly inconsistent when trying to get off blocks. Sometimes it’s no problem for him while other times he struggles. However, most of the time he does win.|
|Gay is fast and doesn’t hesitate to chase down anyone no matter where they are on the field.|
|He can cover well in both man and zone. Due to his speed, Gay can keep up with most receivers and does a good job breaking up passes as well.|
|Gay struggles at times to recognize plays, he needs to develop in this area.|
|He appears to be all over the field. Wherever the ball goes, he follows. He does a good job breaking up screen passes before they can develop as well.|
|Gay definitely isn’t that great at blitzing. Due to him struggling at shedding blocks, he struggles to blitz.|
|He is an absurd athlete who is fast, strong, can jump, and do whatever else you need a linebacker to do. He takes advantage of his athleticism and models his game around it.|
Grade Reduction: -2 for Suspension History
In the past, Gay has been suspended for cheating on a test. He also allegedly broke his quarterback’s jaw this past season before Mississippi State’s bowl game against Louisville. The final issue was from 2018, in which he was ejected from the Egg Bowl after being involved in a fight against Ole Miss.
Final Grade: 80.5
Due to his suspension history, his second-round grade became a third-round grade.
Round Grade: Early third Round
Projected Round: Rounds 4-5
Positional Rank: LB4
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