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Consistent and Productive: Gamecocks DB Coach Torrian Gray

Gamecocks DB Coach Gray

Position coaches get a lot of grief when their group underperforms or the team lacks talent in their position. However, when teams find success at one position, that success has to reach an extraordinary level for the name of the position coach to get the same type of run in the media. Regarding Gamecocks DB coach Torrian Gray, there is no question he deserves some positive attention and recognition. Throughout his career, Gray has put players in the NFL, a level that he played at for three seasons before a knee injury cut his career short. He was a three-time all-conference safety at Virginia Tech, a part of two conference championships. Gray knows how to play the position, and he knows how to win. 

The Coaching Resumé

Gray has coached DBs at every stop in his coaching career. Since 2000, he has coached at five different colleges (Florida twice) and made two stops in the NFL. Until his tenure in Columbia (2021-present), he never stayed at any job longer than two seasons, except for spending a decade at this alma mater from 2006-2015. Despite his journeyman approach, Gray has had success at every stop. He coached 14 players who made it to the NFL at Virginia Tech alone. Most notably, former Seattle Seahawk “Legion of Boom” member and two-time Super Bowl champion Kam Chancellor. 

Overall, Gray has seen 25 of the players he coached drafted into the NFL. Four of those draft picks have occurred in his three years as the Gamecocks DB coach. Perhaps the most impressive of those players was cornerback Darius Rush. Buried on the wide receiver depth chart, Rush moved to cornerback to help the team. Although Rush is athletic, no one outside the building expected much from him. But Gray has a way of developing guys and maximizing their potential. He is a coveted coach widely recognized nationally as a top-10 defensive backs coach.

Gray’s Impact in 2024

Gray’s experience and success as the Gamecocks DB coach and at various other stops is impressive. However, most fans are looking forward to the 2024 season as Spring ball is underway. So, what type of impact does Gray have in 2024? He has one returning starter at corner in OD Fortune. While Fortune brings experience, he has room to improve. Gray’s first point of impact is in the development of younger players and older guys like Fortune. Opposite of Fortune, a trio of sophomores appear at the top of the list. The battle between Judge Collier, Vicari Swain, and Emory Floyd cannot be overlooked as one of the most important of the Spring. Of course, freshman Jalewis Solomon and veteran nickelback David Spaulding could also factor into the mix. Gray makes the difference in what these players become in 2024.

Gray has a good problem… too much talent at the safety position. Nick Emmanwori and DQ Smith were both freshman All-American players. Now, headed into their junior season, the pair look to take a big step towards playing at the next level. Emmanwori specifically has the size and ability to be successful in the NFL. Gray’s track record of producing NFL talent will likely continue with him. In addition to Smith and Emmanwori, the Gamecocks have sophomore Jalon Kilgore, a freshman All-American himself in 2023. Gray must determine how best to use the talents of Emmanwori, Smith, and Kilgore, who all need to play significant snaps and take their game up a notch. Behind them, the Gamecocks have even more talent at the safety position.

As Gray evaluates and coaches through the Spring, he must hold on to top-level talent through the Spring Transfer Portal window while developing new players to push the existing starters. One thing is certain, Gray identifies talent and squeezes the most production out of any player he is given. 


Young and old players want to play for South Carolina and Coach Gray. His experience and the laundry list of players who have made it to the NFL under his tutelage are enough to entice young talent to come to Columbia. 2025 targets Shamari Earls and Jontae Gilbert are the type of players who bring a lot to the table before Gray gets an opportunity to work with them. If they commit to South Carolina, the promise of development by a proven coach like Gray is a significant part of the equation. Gray has a history of getting top-100-level players, and his reputation has extended through his tenure as the Gamecocks DB coach. Since 2021, Gray has gotten commitments from eight four-star players. However, the lower-ranked recruits that Gray develops into NFL-caliber players are more impressive. 

The Gamecocks DB room is the one position group where fans should have confidence even if the Spring Portal takes away the top one or two players. Gray can develop at a top level, and given the depth of talent he has accumulated, he has plenty to work with heading into 2024. 


Gamecocks DB Coach Gray
Photo courtesy: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports


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