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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Boyd Buchanan's Karson Gay tries to escape a tackle attempt by Chattanooga Christian School's Zion Irvin on Sept. 20, 2019, at CCS.

One of Tennessee's top high school football talents for the graduating class of 2022 has already announced his collegiate decision.

Boyd Buchanan junior tight end Karson Gay revealed his commitment to the Virginia Cavaliers of the Atlantic Coast Conference via Twitter on Saturday. Such commitments are nonbinding per NCAA rules, and Gay's earliest opportunity to sign won't come until December.

With a rare blend of size, power and speed, the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder is considered to be the complete package by his head coach both on and off the field.

"Karson's work ethic is phenomenal," Buccaneers coach Jeremy Bosken said. "He wants to be the No. 1 tight end in the nation. He is very focused and driven. He can do it all: Catch, block, and he is good in open space. Then you flip it around, and he is a leader in the locker room, on the field and in the classroom. He is a home run for Virginia."

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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Boyd Buchanan's Karson Gay holds up the football as he crosses the goal line for a touchdown at Notre Dame during a regular-season game this past October.

Gay is rated as a three-star prospect by recruiting services, and 247sports.com ranks him as the state's No. 16 prospect and 547th overall in the country for 2022. He has been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and is able to make plays on the outside or as an in-line tight end who blocks well. As a starter for Boyd Buchanan's basketball team, he has provided tough defense.

During his junior football season in 2020, he had nearly 500 receiving yards, including more than 100 yards and a touchdown against Christian Academy of Knoxville in a TSSAA Division II-AA playoff game.

"Seeing Karson grow and compete over the last few years has been really impressive. He never stops working and learning," Bosken said. "He plays on one of the state's elite 7-on-7 teams, so the amount of experience and reps he gets running and catching has really helped him stand out, too. He can do so much at a very high level. He is a great team-first guy and the type of leader you want your younger players to be around."

Gay also had offers from Southeastern Conference programs Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee. BYU, Southern California and Virginia Tech were among the other schools pursuing him.

"It was always a dream of mine to play college football," Gay's post read. "To receive scholarship offers from some of the most prestigious schools in the country has been great! To be able to build relationships and talk with so many wonderful individuals and coaches has been amazing."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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