If the preseason hype turns out to be real, the Tennessee Vols have a future stud on their hands in true freshman running back Eric Gray.

The four-star Memphis native has received plenty of praise during fall camp.

Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been quick to compliment the young running back, praising Gray’s ball skills and vision. He also noted that Gray is “mature” and “gets it the first time”.

While everyone seems to be impressed with Gray’s on-the-field abilities, the maturity that Pruitt mentioned is what’s most impressive to running backs coach David Johnson.

The second year UT assistant was recently asked by reporters how impressed he’s been by Gray.

Johnson said he’s been more impressed with Gray’s work ethic, saying “Obviously, you knew he was talented. But for that kid to come in every day and just kind of work hard, he’s been doing a good job.”

When asked what kind of role Gray will have this year, Johnson wouldn’t commit to anything specific.

“You have to let the season play out. You don’t know how it’s going to play out. I just think he has to just continue to do the things that he needs to do. Not putting a lot of pressure on that kid. He’s still a freshman, so he can come in, wherever he fits in, doing the things he needs to do.”

Johnson added that Gray could be used on special teams, as a receiver out of the backfield, or running between the tackles.

Wherever Gray ends up playing, one thing is certain — he’s going to go at it 100 percent. It’s the only way Gray knows. Work hard, practice hard, play hard.

And that’s why Tennessee signed him — they knew they were getting a talented kid with a work ethic that, as Johnson put it, is “second to none” on the team.

Sounds like a future star to me.

Featured image via 247Sports