January 26, 2010

Gray now more determined than ever

As a football player, it would be easy to let an ACL injury get you down, but linebacker Austin Gray just sees it as extra motivation. The future Hawkeye says now he is more determined than ever to succeed in college at the University of Iowa. We caught up with the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Gray to talk about his official visit this past weekend, his upcoming freshman year at Iowa, and much more.

Q: Who made the trip with you this weekend?

GRAY: My mom and my dad.

Q: Can you take me through some of the things you got to do?

GRAY: Friday, we got into town and got checked into the hotel. We had supper and then hung out with our hosts a little bit. Saturday, we got started around 8 AM and had breakfast. The recruits were in meetings all day with different coaches and academic advisors and our parents were in meetings too. We had lunch up in the press box and supper at Joseph's. Then we hung out again with our hosts last night. This morning, we had breakfast with Coach Ferentz and now we're on our way home.

Q: Who was your host this weekend?

GRAY: Troy Johnson.

Q: What were your overall impressions of the visit?

GRAY: I loved it. Just the atmosphere and the people, it was great. Like I've said in previous interviews, it's the people. That's why I want to go there. They're my kind of people. They like to play hard and they like to work hard.

Q: Did you get to catch up with James Morris and some of the other recruits?

GRAY: Yeah. James and I are pretty good friends and I got a chance to get acquainted with some of the other recruits that I hadn't met yet.

Q: Going back to your ACL surgery, how is everything going now?

GRAY: It's going great actually. I had surgery November 5. A couple weeks ago, my therapist told me that I was ready to be on my own. They gave me a program to follow and they told me I'm doing fine. Another big milestone was last week was my first time running since I got injured, so that was a big step.

Q: Obviously, you were pretty down when it happened, but is it encouraging that you're so far along already?

GRAY: Oh yeah. I just have to keep telling myself that it happened and I got it fixed and now I've just got to let it heal right and be patient with it and do all the things that I need to do.

Q: What kind of timeframe have they said as far as getting back to full speed?

GRAY: Right now, it's all on me. It's on how I'm healing and how I'm developing. They're saying that if I keep up the way I am, I should be on the field no later than May.

Q: Does the injury change anything for you coming in this year or do you still come in with the same mindset regardless?

GRAY: Actually, if the injury had done anything, it's given me a little bit more willpower and determination. Obviously, when I got injured, it was devastating. I missed the last couple games of my season and it was really hard. When I found out what I did, it made that fire in my belly a little bit bigger because surgery, rehab, and all this talk about what could be and it's like, look at me now.

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