Mac Engel

One of the best RBs in high school history ‘still hoping for a call back’ from NFL

Former Aledo and Texas Longhorn running back Johnathan Gray lives in Austin and was recently married; he is starting a career in sports performance training.
Former Aledo and Texas Longhorn running back Johnathan Gray lives in Austin and was recently married; he is starting a career in sports performance training. Special to the Star-Telegram
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Johnathan Gray celebrates Aledo’s 2011 state championship. Paul Moseley Star-Telegram

He went to the rookie camp for the New York Giants; and then camps for the Calgary Stampeders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders. He never played a game for any of those teams.

“I’m still hoping for a call back,” he said. “You know, of course I thought I would be on an (NFL) team. I wanted that. I still do. I thought I was going to be in the NFL and playing running back and would win a Super Bowl. I want to be on an NFL roster but I know that’s going to be tough.”

Today, Jonathan Gray is 25, lives in Austin and was recently married. His playing career is likely over.

He earned his degree from the University of Texas, and is beginning to start a career in sports performance training.

No, it’s not how he wanted his life to work but he understands that not everyone wins the national title. or a Heisman Trophy.

His dad was an All-American running back at Texas Tech in the ‘80s, and he gets it. Gray understands that so many variables have to break just right to win that title; to win a Heisman Trophy; to have a pro career.

Most people who played football will never do what Johnathan Gray did.

His 10,889 rushing yards at Aledo are the second-most in Texas high school history. His name remains littered throughout the top three of every major state running record, including a record 51 games with 100 yards.

Gray simply never could come close to doing at UT what he did at Aledo. UT’s offensive line was a mess. So was his body.

He twice needed surgery to repair shoulder injuries. Those were the miniscule setbacks compared to the two ruptured Achilles injuries he suffered while playing for UT.

Gray owns the state record for career carries at 1,218, but dismisses the notion that all of those carries he accumulated at Aledo had anything to do with his injuries.

“All the carries I took, I was not pounded on. So that wasn’t it,” said Gray, who was twice named Mr. Football USA by ESPNHS, becoming the first player to win the award twice. “I had a good quarterback, a good offensive line. And, most of my runs were touchdowns.

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Johnathan Gray’s career at Texas was slowed by a tear to his Achilles tendon. After graduating from Texas and tearing another Achilles tendon, Gray is still hoping to reach his dream of making an NFL roster. Richard Rodriguez Star-Telegram

“To this day I don’t know how I tore both of them. I never had tendon problems. It just happened.”

“I am proud of my career. In anything, you are going to have ups and downs and the important thing you get out of your career is the journey,” he said. “Losing taught me how to progress through failure. Winning taught me how to be humble and to keep going.”

Gray is going, and while it’s not on a football field he’s still a success. And he will forever remain one of the best high school players in the history of Texas.

Former Aledo running back Johnathan Gray was one of nine people recognized for the Texas high school football hall of fame inductees 2018 class.

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