INDIANAPOLIS — As Marqueis Gray hobbled through his senior year at the University of Minnesota, he kept tabs on what Seattle quarterback and former Big Ten rival Russell Wilson was doing in the NFL.
None of it came as a surprise to the Gophers’ 6-foot-3, 240-pound quarterback.
During Gray’s junior year playing quarterback at Minnesota, he watched Wilson complete 16-of-17 passes for 178 yards and four touchdowns in Wisconsin’s 42-13 romp over the Gophers.
With the platonic shift in the NFL quarterback landscape, Gray wasn’t stunned when Wilson capped his rookie season by guiding the Seahawks to the playoffs.
If anything, he expected it.
“I seen it. He went 16-for-17 against us I think, so he lit us up pretty good,” said Gray, whose senior year with the Gophers was interrupted by a persistent ankle injury. “He’s a great quarterback, a great team leader and it showed with him starting as a rookie.”
Gray brings a unique style to this week’s NFL combine. Many teams and experts differ on his professional outlook, with some projecting him as a quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end.
After switching from wide receiver to quarterback in his junior year at Minnesota, the Indianapolis native has been working as a quarterback at the combine and hopes to stay there in his NFL bid.
The growing popularity of read-option and scrambling quarterbacks in today’s NFL could help players like Michigan's Denard Robinson and Gray’s draft stock.
Although it's unlikely the Green Bay Packers would bring in such an offense, Gray said he talked with the team.
He’s still not back to full speed from the sprained ankle he suffered in September and aggravated the following month, but has been working out at Athletes Edge Training in Boca Raton, Fla.
Based on shuffling between positions at Minnesota and the six different position coaches he had there, Gray believes he still has a lot of room for growth with many draft experts projecting him as a priority free agent.
Much like Wilson’s third-round selection last year, he’s just hoping someone in the NFL takes a chance on that potential.
“The league is changing constantly with guys like RG III, Cam Newton and hopefully some guys will give me a chance to do that with a package,” Gray said.