Tech careers of Gray, Stickler over for medical reasons

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) runs against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back A.J. Gray (5) during the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. (Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

(TNS) —The Georgia Tech football careers of A.J. Gray and Jake Stickler are over due to medical reasons, coach Paul Johnson announced Monday.

Gray, a defensive back, has a heart condition and Stickler, an offensive lineman has an undisclosed condition. They will be classified as medical non-counters, meaning they both will remain on scholarship but not count toward Tech’s 85 allowable grants-in-aid for football.

“I’m extremely saddened for A.J., Jake and our team but, in the big picture, health always trumps football,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m grateful that A.J. and Jake will be able to continue to attend Georgia Tech and earn their degrees.”

Gray was a two-year starter at free safety and appeared in 33 games over three seasons as a Yellow Jacket. The Washington County product finishes his career with 147 tackles (113 solo), six tackles for loss, a sack, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He ranked third on the team in tackles as a sophomore in 2016 (72) and a junior in 2017 (54). He was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week after recording two interceptions in a 33-7 win over North Carolina on Sept. 30, 2017.

The loss of Gray is considered a significant blow to the Tech defense.

Stickler appeared in 20 games over three seasons at Georgia Tech and made 10 starts at right tackle as a junior in 2017. He was an integral part of an offensive line that helped pave the way for Tech to rush for 307.4 yards per game (fifth nationally) in 2017.

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