MOBILE, Ala. – Learning that Luke Getsy would be his head coach this week at the Senior Bowl put a huge smile on Oklahoma running back Eric Gray's face.
As a high school senior in 2018, Gray was recruited by the Bears offensive coordinator, who was then serving in the same role at Mississippi State.
"I remember when I saw his name as the head coach, I was ecstatic because I already had a previous relationship with him," Gray said after practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile. "To be able to learn from him this week, that's definitely a bonus for me."
Gray grew up in Memphis and was a prep superstar at Lausanne Collegiate School, where he was named Tennessee's Mr. Football following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He initially attended Tennessee—where he spent one year playing with Bears receiver Velus Jones Jr.—before transferring to Oklahoma in 2021.
Gray feels that Getsy's greatest strength as a coach is "being personable and able to gel with his players."
"He's a very personable guy, not somebody that you're scared to go up and talk to," Gray said. "He's somebody that you can talk to [and] ask questions. He's just a great guy."
Gray isn't the only member of the American team at the Senior Bowl who was recruited by Getsy during his one year at Mississippi State. Others include Mississippi receiver Jonathan Mingo, Alabama defensive lineman Byron Young and Auburn defensive end Derick Hall.
“It’s been amazing to have an opportunity to work with him. The dude’s passionate about football.” Auburn defensive end Derick Hall on Luke Getsy
A star at Brandon High School in Mississippi, Mingo recalled taking an official visit to Starkville, where he spoke to Getsy about what it was like working with Packers receiver Davante Adams. (Getsy had served as Green Bay's receivers coach in 2016-17.)
"It's a blessing to be back out here again because he's really cool," Mingo said.
Mingo lauded Getsy for his ability to connect with players.
"Some coaches are all business, and they have no relationship with the players outside [football]," Mingo said. "But he's a cool guy to be around. We're always talking football. He's all locked in. He's trying to help you get better at your craft."
Young, who attended West Jones High School in Laurel, Miss., feels the same way about Getsy's ability to connect with players.
"He does a really good job with that," Young said. "He came up to me before I even had a chance to come up to him and talk to him and we were chopping it up a little bit."
Hall was a four-star prospect at Mississippi's Gulfport High School when Getsy recruited him.
"We were in contact a lot," Hall said. "I love the guy. Just by coincidence, he's my head coach this week, so it's pretty cool."
Hall has relished the chance to be coached by Getsy at the Senior Bowl.
"It's been amazing to have an opportunity to work with him," Hall said. "The dude's passionate about football. In team meetings, you can tell he's very passionate. He gets after it. He wants us to win. That's our objective, is we need to go out and put our best foot forward and try to win this ballgame. You can't ask for much more in a coach."