The football career of former Texas Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray suffered another significant setbackwhen he suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in preparation for the 2016 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports.
Gray tore his right Achilles tendon in 2013 and made a remarkable recovery. After undergoing successful surgery on Thursday, according to Texas SID John Bianco, the former five-star prospect will now have to go through the same grueling rehabilitation process on his other Achilles tendon.
Ranked as the No. 1 running back and No. 6 overall prospect in the 2012 class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Gray looked like a no-brainer collegiate superstar after his record-setting prep career. However, things never came together for the 5'10, 211-pounder. He showed flashes at times, posting two 100-yard performances as a freshman and appearing on the verge of a breakout when he suffered his first Achilles tear against West Virginia.
His trademark work ethic allowed him to return to the field for the start of the 2014 season, but he was several months before he was comfortable cutting once again. On a 40-yard touchdown run against West Virginia, he finally showed the lateral quickness that made him such a highly-regarded prospect.
So the expectations raised for Gray once again. And once again, he couldn't quite deliver, lacking the explosiveness and elusiveness he showed in late 2014. As a result, he was unable to deliver the big runs turned in by younger running backs like D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren. In a cruel twist of fate, Gray missed the last two games of his senior season due to leg injuries.
Since Gray was unlikely to land an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, he needed a strong Pro Day performance in March to impress NFL scouts. He won't get that opportunity due to his injury and though Fozzy Whittaker was able to forge an NFL career despite missing out on those critical showcases, it's possible that this setback could effectively end Gray's outside shot at making a roster in the NFL.
The good news is that he possesses a number of positive attributes that should make him extremely successful in whatever he ends up doing after football.