Donald Gray‘s college career did not begin as he envisioned.
Gray signed with Mississippi State out of high school in 2013 but failed to qualify academically. The Bulldogs placed the talented receiver at Copiah-Lincoln Community College but injured his ankle during preseason practice and cost Gray the rest of the year.
Those early obstacles leave Gray grateful for where he is now.
The former No. 2 prospect in Tennessee bounced back with All-American accolades during his second year at Co-Lin catching 55 passes for 989 yards and 10 touchdowns and added 419 punt return yards and three more scores.
This past December, the former four-star prospect kept his word and resigned with MSU and enrolled for the spring semester.
“Sometimes I’ll sit back and reflect on just how long it took me to get here,” Gray said. “I’m just thankful. I prayed day-in and day-out and God finally gave me a chance to actually get here. I waited but it was all worth it.”
Not only is Gray at the school he always wanted to attend but also has three years of eligibility remaining on the field after receiving a redshirt for 2013.
Gray began making an impact immediately in the Bulldogs receiving corps. The 5-foot-10, 193-pounder started off on the third team but had risen to a starter’s role by the end of spring.
“You just take it a day at a time,” Gray said. “You’re not going to be able to get everything in one day. You have to be open and leave room for mistakes. It’s just a process but when you have guys around you to help you out, welcome you and make you feel like you’ve been here makes it a lot easier.”
The Memphis native caught three passes for 57 yards including a 24-yard touchdown in the spring game.
Gray is battling to keep his spot in the rotation as the Z-receiver this fall.
“A lot of the athletes here in the SEC are used to being the main guy at their high school,” Gray said. “Everybody used to be that guy so there’s a lot of individuals in one spot. There’s a lot of talent so you have to put in extra work and work on the small things to really stick out because everybody is a baller.”
During MSU’s scrimmage last Thursday, Gray grabbed nine balls for 110 yards and a touchdown.