After much hype and a stellar senior season, five-star running back and prized Texas recruit Johnathan Gray will finally don the burnt-orange uniform this fall. With just 52 days to go until football season, Texas fans already have high expectations.
On Tuesday, those expectations got a little higher. Gray, who was previously named Gatorade’s High School Male Athlete of the Year in football, took home Gatorade’s overall High School Male Athlete of the Year as well.
Gray is the fourth football player to win the award, which began in 2003 and takes six sports into consideration. The last football player to win overall was former Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert in 2009. While Texas fans may be wary to hear Gray’s name in the same sentence as Gilbert’s, Gray’s stats alone should ease any reactionary fears.
This past year while playing for Aledo High School, Gray set a state record with 65 rushing touchdowns on 347 carries. In other words, he scored one out of five times he touched the ball—an incredible rate for a player in any state, let alone someone playing in a state known as a football powerhouse.
Gray’s dominance is acknowledged even by his fellow award nominees, including high school basketball standout Jabari Parker.
“Even if I had won the award, I think I would have given it to Johnathan Gray,” Parker told ESPN after Gray took Gatorade’s top honor. “I really think he deserved it the most.”
Gray will have to share time this year with a loaded Longhorn backfield, which features Joe Bergeron, Malcolm Brown, D.J. Monroe, and Jeremy Hills.
But with Gray garnering such elite recognition, it’s hard for Texas fans to not get excited. After all, the best high school athlete in the nation is heading to Austin. In the dog days of summer, football season can’t get here soon enough.
Johnathan Gray. Photo courtesy UT Athletics.