Torrian Gray wasn’t going to leave his alma mater, Virginia Tech, for just any job.
But when the Gators came calling, he couldn’t say no.
"I always felt at Virginia Tech I had a great job as the defensive back coach," Gray said. "I loved working for coach Beamer and coach Foster. … It took a great opportunity like the University of Florida to come back home for me to really entertain (leaving), and that’s kind of what happened."
Gray is originally from Lakeland, Florida, and his mother and six siblings still live there.
The chance to become Florida’s secondary coach meant that he could live just a few hours away from them, making this the one opportunity capable of prying him away from Blacksburg, Virginia.
"(They’re) going to want some tickets, I guess," Gray said jokingly of his family.
The fact that he would be able to inherit Florida’s secondary didn’t hurt matters, either, and Gray has jumped right in with his evaluation of what he now has at his disposal.
"I’m very impressed with the top-end talent we have," he said of UF’s defensive backfield. "We have to develop some depth there, but it’s pretty impressive the guys we do have coming back."
One of those guys is Jalen Tabor, Florida’s top cornerback who led the Southeastern Conference — along with Ole Miss’ Trae Elston — with 18 passes defended in 2015.
Gray said he believes the UF junior compares to Kyle and Kendall Fuller, two standout cornerbacks who played at Virginia Tech.
Kyle Fuller was a first round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, while Kendall Fuller is projected by many to also be a first-rounder this year.
"Jalen is an instinctive, football playing guy," Gray said. "Has great ball skills. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen of him on film."
As for Gray, he said the defensive schemes he ran at Virginia Tech were significantly different than the schemes Florida runs under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, particularly when it came to the amount of man coverage the Hokies played.
The shift in philosophy will take some adjusting on his part, but the new coach is looking forward to the opportunity to stretch himself.
"It’s exciting for me, I get to grow as a coach and get to learn Coach Collins’ scheme and what those guys are doing," Gray said. "It will be fun."