Jack Gray and Langston Jones were supposed to be a formidable one-two punch at linebacker last season for Northeastern State.
Instead, Gray's left hand had a baseball-sized swell in it mere days for the 2013 season started. Gray opted to play against Pittsburg State in the season opener, but he said the pain was unbearable.
With that, he chose to sit out the rest of the season and received a medical redshirt.
Now he's back for the 2014 campaign, but without his partner in crime, Jones, who set the standard for linebacking in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association despite NSU's two-win campaign in 2013.
But before Gray starts things off in his second senior season, he has some bigger plans on the horizon. The Chandler native is getting married in July before the season kicks off.
Gray took time to answer some questions the other day. Some were football-related, others weren't....
What about after college, what do you have planned?
I'm actually getting married in July. Then we're going to live in Tahlequah until I finish my stuff. And then I'm graduating with a degree in Geography. I'll be job hunting then, I guess.
So are your honeymoon plans on hold? Or are you taking a week off from football?
We're taking a week to go down to (Costa Rica) in July. I'll be off that week, but besides that, I'll be hitting (the weight room) all summer.
You came here under (former head coach) Kenny Evans. What's the transition been like under new head coach Rob Robinson?
It's been good. I haven't really done much with the team so far. I couldn't play spring ball ----- or do anything like that ---- but I've met with the coaches and I've gotten to sit in some meetings and stuff like that. We have a lot of new changes going on, but they're really good changes. I feel like we're heading in the right direction, for sure.
What's it been like with your brother in Tulsa? (Jack Gray's brother is Jon, a right-handed pitcher and a top prospect for the Tulsa Drillers in the Colorado Rockies organization.)
We've been able to go watch him pitch a lot, and then he comes up here and hangs out every now and then.
You ever talk to him about being his agent?
(After chuckling).... No, he's got a pretty good agent right now, so he knows a lot more than I do about any of that.
Any chance that he gets to pitch for Denver this year?
There's been a lot of talk about him going up around the All-Star break, or somewhere around there. From what I know, the Rockies have some pitchers that are injured right now, and there's been a lot of talk about him and Eddie Butler^ getting moved up. There's a chance he could end up pitching in relief by the end of this year.
^Since talking to Gray, Butler was called up by the Rockies and made his Major League Baseball debut against the Dodgers on Friday. He was placed on the disabled after making the start.