Before committing to Maryland last June, Derwin Gray considered offers from Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and several others. But playing for a traditional college football powerhouse ultimately didn’t appeal to the Terps commitment.
“If you’re a great player, and you can ball, you don’t have to go to Alabama or Florida State,” Gray said. “[I] just showed everyone [that I wanted to] go out on a limb and go to Maryland, stay home and really ball for my city and do big things.”
Gray, a four-star prospect from Friendship Collegiate in D.C., called it a “blessing and an honor” to play football for his hometown university. He’s hopeful that the decisions made by him, Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown and other local standouts to play for the Terps sets an example for younger players.
“I basically just try to stay humble and basically just be a great role model for people younger than me,” said Gray, who played in the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I know if I stay home, it’ll mean more to my family. … I’m going somewhere I can get the best situation where I can thrive in and be that guy.”
Gray, one of Maryland’s highest-ranked recruits and its top offensive lineman in the 2013 class, hopes to follow in the path of Mike Madaras. The Good Counsel grad came to College Park last fall with a similar amount of hype, and played for the Terps as a true freshman.
“My freshman year, I want to play early,” he said. “Maryland really just needs me to come in and play hard. It’s the best situation for being able to play.”
Here’s an introduction to Gray:
Name: Derwin Gray
Birthdate: May 10, 1995
Birthplace: Washington D.C.
Hometown: Washington D.C.
Position: Offensive tackle
High School: Friendship Collegiate (D.C.)
Senior statistics: N/A
Rankings: Rivals.com – Four-star prospect, No. 2 player in D.C., No. 14 offensive tackle, No. 170 player overall. Scout.com – Four-star prospect, No. 7 offensive tackle, No. 81 player overall. ESPN.com – Four-star prospect, No. 2 player in D.C., No. 21 offensive tackle, 82 rating. 247Sports.com – Four-star prospect, No. 1 player in D.C., No. 6 offensive tackle, No. 61 player overall, 95 rating.
Bench max: 385
40-yard dash: 4.9
Runner-up school: “It probably [would have] come down to Florida, Ohio State and Rutgers.”
Other schools considered: Oklahoma, Florida State
Favorite NFL player: Trent Williams
Favorite NFL team: New Orleans Saints
Favorite all-time Terp: Darin Drakeford
Favorite music: Chief Keef
Favorite movie: “Friday”
Favorite book: “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Favorite food: Steak and hot wings
Favorite high school class: English
Other high school sports: “I played basketball and track and field, but gave them up senior year and focused on football.”
Hobbies: “Shopping … and working out.”
Intended major: Broadcast journalism
Something that not many people know about you: “A lot of people don’t know I was born and raised in Southeast D.C. and I live with both of my parents. My one goal is leaving Maryland with a good degree, and making it to the NFL if I’m fortunate enough.”
Role model: “My role model on the field was Tyrann Mathieu. Off the field, my role model would be Deion Sanders. I like Tyrann Mathieu on the field because of how small he is and how hard he played. [I like] Deion Sanders off the field because of something called Prime U, which gives back to the community and things like that.”
Why Maryland? “Maryland was the best choice for me because I know as a player I can come in and really thrive, really do big things. The offensive line … needs some work. I can come in and motivate the linemen, basically get them up to work hard. [What] Stefon Diggs did as a wide receiver, I can be that for the offensive line.”
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