The Miami Hurricanes offense struggled for large parts of the 2018 season. But, one of the big improvements was seen in short yardage situations, and that can be largely attributed to senior FB Trayone Gray.
Moving from RB to FB for his senior year, the 6’2” 235lb Gray was able to both see the field more than he did/would have at RB, and make some key plays for the Canes offense in tough situations. A specialist in short yardage, Gray was routinely given the ball from I-Formation to get the tough yards when the defense was geared up to stop the run.
A senior from Miami (FL) Carol City HS, Gray was a QB in high school. He threw the ball a bit, but running it was his calling card, and he transitioned to RB at Miami. After battling injuries and inconsistent play for 4 years, Gray moved to FB for his 5th year, and that has been a big help to the Canes’ offense. Not only was he able to help Miami run more pro-style sets (like I-Formation), Gray’s play at FB allowed the Canes to RS freshman Realus George — the Nation’s #1 FB in the 2018 recruiting class.
For the year, Gray played in 10 games and had 24 carries for 83 yards and 2 TDs, while adding 4 catches for 37 yards. No, those aren’t eye popping numbers, but when you consider the fact that Gray helped Miami convert many 3rd and 4th down opportunities, as well as scored twice, that’s pretty decent.
In this year’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers, Miami’s biggest advantage on offense is speed. Wisconsin is a bigger team than Miami physically, so the Canes will likely look to use their speed and athleticism to win the day.
Despite the fact that he’s the largest player in the RB room, Gray is arguably the fastest, too. He is a threat to score from distance if given a crease, but Gray isn’t the most nimble player in the world, so he can be tripped up before finding the open field and turning on the burners. I know you weren’t expecting to read that last paragraph, especially if you’re a Wisconsin fan, but it’s true.
As with most games this season, any statistical output from Gray will be bonus for the Canes. Maybe he’ll come in and help the team convert a couple short yardage situations, and maybe he’ll be used in a new or different way (fullback WHEEL ROUTE, anyone?) to catch the Badgers by surprise.
All in All, Trayone Gray will have a role on offense in this game. The size and impact of that role will be seen when the Canes and Badgers face off on December 27th at 5:15pm.