Monday, September 23, 2013
Player of the Week: Big 12
By Max Olson
AUSTIN, Texas – Ever since the day he signed with Texas, Johnathan Gray has been lauded for his selflessness.
Mack Brown proudly declared on signing day 2012 that Gray, a five-star recruit ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 300, came to Texas excited about the chance to share carries with two other backs. He’s been doing so ever since and hasn't complained.
Johnathan Gray rushed for a career-high 141 yards against Kansas State.
A week ago against Ole Miss, he had 14 carries in the first half and five in the second. Gray shrugged when asked if that bothered him. Not his call, he said. No big deal.
But the Longhorns found out Saturday, in their 31-21 victory over Kansas State, just what can happen when Gray gets a full workload and becomes the focal point of the offense.
ESPN.com’s Big 12 Player of the Week rushed for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns on 28 rushes to carry a Texas offense that lost David Ash and just kept rolling in a needed victory to begin conference play.
The sophomore, who rushed for a record 205 touchdowns at Aledo (Texas) High School, had never received more than 20 carries at UT before Saturday. He proved just what he can do when Texas coaches trust him to take over a game. Behind improved play from the Longhorns offensive line, Gray had runs of 21, 16, 15, 13 and 12 yards and picked up first downs on eight of his carries.
“Backs have to get in a rhythm,” Gray said. “Our line did a great job and just gave us a chance. We took the opportunity and got yards.”
Gray is now the Big 12’s second-leading rusher at 350 yards on the season. The Texas offense has been hampered by all sorts of injuries, but Gray has stayed healthy and happy. The Longhorns might not know when the rest of their offensive weapons are coming back, but they know what they’ve got in Gray.