12/12/12 is a special day in the Gray family.
There have been moments in the last few years, when MarQueis Gray has found himself walking down an unknown road.
“When we first started, we were all pretty immature,” Da’jon McKnight, Gray’s former Gopher teammate, said. “As the years went on, MarQueis became this responsible and determined man. I think Alley is one of the biggest parts of him changing.”
Gray met Alley Behr through former Gophers linebacker Deon Hightower in the fall of 2008.
An ACT score dispute put the brakes on what was supposed to be Gray’s first Division 1 college football season. It did not, however, put a stop on his relationship with Behr.
“I began to have to DVR all my shows when it was football season,” Behr said. “It was worth it.”
For the next two seasons, Gray continued dating Behr while waiting for his shot behind veteran quarterback Adam Weber. He spent most of his time at wide receiver, a position he had only played once in high school.
This wasn’t exactly the ideal path to travel for a four-star quarterback recruit. However, former Gophers coach Tim Brewster, who recruited Gray to Minnesota, saw promise both on and off the field.
“The kid just has something: faith, a smile, a swagger. He just has it,” Brewster said.
Although the Gophers 2010 season was hard to watch, Gray brought a glimmer of light into the future, as he ran for his first career rushing touchdown in Minnesota’s upset over Iowa. Floyd of Rosedale was back in Minnesota for the first time since 2006.
But 2011 brought a new coach, yet another new offense, a full starting quarterback role, and twin boys for Gray and Behr.
“He could have given up, but he stuck with it and grinded it out.” McKnight said.
Grind it out he did.
Although his passing numbers were below par in the Big Ten, Gray carried the ball for a team-high 966 yards in 2011, which set a school record for single-season rushing by a quarterback. He went on to win the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the Gophers most valuable player.
“MarQueis has so much inner strength and belief in himself, that wherever he went, he was going to make a difference. And he made a difference at Minnesota,” Brewster said.
Gray proposed to Behr in July 2012 and made football and family his sole priorities. He received the Bronko Nagurski Award again, becoming the first Gopher to be recognized in consecutive years since Laurence Maroney in 2004 and 2005. Gray was also given the Paul Giel Award which goes to the most unselfish player.
“It’s been amazing to watch him take on, not only the leadership role of the team, but of his family too,” Xzavian Brandon, another former Gopher teammate, said.
Since Ms. Behr will officially be Mrs. Gray on December 12, 2012, she and their kids will be allowed to travel and stay with MarQueis and the Gophers in Texas.
“The most amazing honeymoon is being able to go to a bowl game as one family,” Behr said.
In 2013, MarQueis will again find himself walking down two unknown roads: marriage and the National Football League. It’s hard to say which will prove to be more difficult, but I can bet Gray and Company will be well equipped for the road less traveled.
Tag(s): Gopher Football