Former Texas defensive back Jerry Gray was selected for induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF has announced during a press conference in New York City on Tuesday.
Gray is the Longhorns' 17th player and 19th overall inductee (including coaches D. X. Bible and Darrell Royal)into the College Football Hall of Fame.
“[This is] probably one of the highest honors you can get when you play in college football,” said Gray. “You don’t dream of ever being one of the elite guys to ever play college football, and I think you have to be on really good football teams for them to recognize you. And to me it’s just a great honor to be recognized as one of the top football players to have ever played on the college level.”
"What a great honor for Jerry Gray and The University of Texas for him to be selected for the College Football Hall ofFame,” said Texas head coach Mack Brown. ”We are so proud of everything he's accomplished and proud to have Jerry joining all of the Longhorn greats in the Hall of Fame. I always knew what a great player he was, but since I've been at Texas, I've been fortunate enough to be around Jerry quite a bit, even briefly as a member of our staff.
“He has great knowledge and passion for the game. Jerry is a man who was a terrific college and NFL player and now is pouring a great deal of energy back into the game as a coach. He is very deserving of this selection as a member among the greats of college football."
A four-year letterman at defensive back from 1981-84, Gray is one of only seven Longhorns to earn two-time consensus All-America honors, as he did in 1983 and 1984. He earned unanimous honors as a senior and is still one of only 20 players in UT history to accomplish that feat. He was also a two-time Southwest Conference DefensivePlayer of the Year in 1983-84. Inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1996, Gray is also a member of the Texas All-Time Team and All-Decade Team for the 1980’s.
"Jerry was on the team when I first got to Texas, and he is a guy that totally represented everything a student-athlete ought to be, both on and off the field,” said DeLoss Dodds, UT men’s athletics director. “He was a great competitor and spectacular player on the field.
“Off the field, he represented us first class as well. He continued to do that as a long-time NFL star and now as defensive coordinator in the NFL. Jerry was a dominating player who was a lot of fun to watch and one of the Longhorns’ all-time greats. I'm so excited for him and for us that he is now a member of the College Football Hall of Fame."
Gray finished his career rankedsecond on the UT career interceptions list and still stands third with 16, just one behind record holders Noble Doss and Nathan Vasher. He is also tied with Vasher and three others for second on the single-season interceptions list after pulling in seven in 1984. He shared that record until safety Earl Thomas set a mark with eight in 2009. Gray also finished his career fourth on the career fumble recoveries list and still stands eighth with six recoveries. Gray recorded 297 career tackles, 16 interceptions and 20 pass breakups during his time in Austin.
Gray is currently the defensivecoordinator of the Tennessee Titans, a position he has held since 2011. He spent 2010 as defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks where he helped Thomas make an immediate impact as a rookie in the NFL. During the regular season, Thomas started all 16 games, ranking ninth in the league and secondamong rookies in interceptions with five. He was also fifth on the team with 76 tackles.
Gray joined the Seahawks after serving in the same capacity for the Washington Redskins for four seasons from 2006-09. Gray spent five years in Buffalo as the Bills defensive coordinator from 2001-05. Prior to joining the Bills in 2001, Gray spent the previous four seasons as an assistant with the Tennessee Titans, including the last two as defensive backs coach.
Gray originally started with the Titans as the defensive assistant/quality control coach in 1997 before being elevated to the defensive backs position. He broke into the coaching ranks in 1995 as the defensive backs coach at Southern Methodist.
A nine-year veteran of the NFL,Gray was a first-round pick (21st overall) in the 1985 NFL Draft by the LosAngeles Rams. During his career, he played with the Rams (1985-91), HoustonOilers (1992) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993). He was a four-time Pro Bowler at cornerback (1986-89) with the Rams, and finished with 28 career interceptions. He posted a season-high eight interceptions in 1986, just his second year in the NFL. He was also named the NFL’s Defensive Back of the Year in 1989 and earned MVP honors in the 1990 Pro Bowl.
The Lubbock, Texas, native established the Jerry Gray Foundation for underprivileged youth, which provides athletic and academic scholarships. He also founded and coordinated the Jerry Gray/Young Life Skills and Leadership Football Camp, and he is active in the Boys and Girls Club of Orchard Park and the United Way.
Gray earned a bachelor's of science degree in speech communications from UT. He lettered in football, basketball and track at Estacado High in Lubbock, was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame in 1995 and was recently named to the All-Time Texas High School team.
Gray and his wife, Sherry, have two sons, Jeremy and Jayden. Jeremy is a senior defensive back at SMU.
Including the 2013 FBS class, only 930 players and 202 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 4.92 million who have played or coached the game during the past 144 years. In other words, only two one-hundredths of one percent (.0002) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois' Red Grange, Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle's JimThorpe.
294 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.
The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 10, 2013, at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 2014 and officially enshrined in the summer of 2014.