- 58 receptions (team-high)
- 860 yards (team-high)
- 5 touchdowns (tied for team-high)
- 14.8 yards per reception
Before the 2016 season started, I predicted that Devin Gray would be a breakout player for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Allow me some self congratulation since I so badly swung and missed on my other choices (DJ Dowdy and Landon Brazile) because Gray was a wonderful surprise in a year filled with disappointment.
Gray, a JUCO transfer and former three-star recruit, was a big-time pass catcher at Sierra College in California and he brought all of that talent to UC. He led the Bearcats in receptions (58) and receiving yards (860) and tied with Kahlil Lewis for the team lead in touchdown catches (five). His 14.8 yards per reception average was not the best mark on the team technically , but it actually was when you only include players with at least 20 catches. A big-play threat that could be a possession receiver, Gray made the transition from a stacked wide receiving corps to a new group a bit easier for Tommy Tuberville’s staff.
His consistent pass-catching was one of the more reliable parts of an otherwise decrepit offense. Gray had 10 games with at least four receptions and eight with at least 50 yards. Both of those marks were better than any other UC receiver, as Nate Cole had eight and five and Lewis produced six and five.
In comparison to the rest of the American Athletic Conference, Gray was not in that elite category, but you can blame some shoddy quarterback play at least partially for that. He still managed to rank ninth in the conference in receiving yards and receptions.
The Best of the Best
Sept. 1 vs. Tennessee-Martin
Gray did not take long to let UC fans know that he would be having his number called frequently all season, tallying 111 yards on five receptions, including a 47-yard catch and run.
Sept. 15 vs. Houston
That big-play potential that is brimming over for Gray was on display against the Cougars, as he finished with 97 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. The rewind-that-play-and-watch-on-repeat play was the 61-yard touchdown grab he had in the first quarter.
Oct. 8 at UConn
Sure, UC only scored nine points off of 317 yards of total offense, but things would have been a lot worse without Gray, who brought in nine passes for 98 yards. He would also have 98 yards a week later against East Carolina in a win.
Nov. 5 vs. BYU
In his second time with triple-digit receiving yards of the season, Gray turned in a 105-yard effort on seven catches.
Nov. 25 at Tulsa
It was a huge offensive night for the Bearcats in the season finale against Tulsa and Gray was one of the players at the center of it all. His 82-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter highlighted a career-best 143-yard performance.
For Next Year
With a new staff and a new offensive coordinator, Gray will have to prove himself once again. However, as long as Luke Fickell and Mike Denbrock have access to box scores and some highlight reels of this past season, there’s no doubt Gray will be a heavily utilized weapon in his senior campaign.