|Jonas Gray's 79yd TD vs Pitt|
Fighting Irish running back, Jonas Gray, has been invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. Gray will join fellow Fighting Irish players DB Robert Blanton, OL Taylor Dever, LB Darius Fleming, WR Michael Floyd and DB Harrison Smith, to showcase their talents to the NFL experts.
But it is Gray's invitation alone that has so many Notre Dame fans relieved. Last season Jonas Gray had a breakthrough year in the Irish backfield along with fellow senior to be running back Cierre Wood. Both players combined for almost 1,900 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns between them.
Known as the "comedian" on the Fighting Irish team in 2011, Gray got his 2011 season off to an auspicious start against the University of South Florida. On the opening drive the Irish marched down the field and faced a 1st & Goal on the Bulls 3 yard line. Gray took the ball over left tackle and was stripped by the Bulls defense. The pigskin was recovered by USF's Kayvon Webster who ran 96 yards down the sideline for the games opening score.
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After a sit down heart-to-heart talk with Brian Kelly, Gray went on to have one of the finest comeback seasons in recent Notre Dame history. Gray ended the season with 114 carries for 812 yards, a whopping 6.9 yards per carry, and ended the season with a team leading 12 touchdowns, tying him for ninth on the school's all-time single-season list. The highlight of his season came against a close win over Pittsburgh in which Gray scampered for a 79 yard TD run. He also scored 3 TD's against the Navy Midshipmen.
Grays season would come to a dramatic end. Playing against a very tough Boston College side, Gray took a dump off in the left flat from QB Tommy Rees for a 3 yard gain. He would leave the game with a season ending torn ACL in his knee.
The pain on his face and tears in his eyes on the sideline were evident for everyone to see that his injury had ended his breakout year and career at Notre Dame and could also possibly hamper his future expectations of turning pro in 2012. Thankfully, those expectations are still very much alive.
The selected Notre Dame players will have the opportunity to show off their raw talents to the professional scouts and coaches on February 22 – 28, 2012. The event will be covered live on NFL Network.