Texas Football: 4 Reasons Johnathan Gray Will Be a Heisman Contender in 2014

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2013

Texas Football: 4 Reasons Johnathan Gray Will Be a Heisman Contender in 2014

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    In his freshman season, Johnathan Gray made a nice splash for the Texas Longhorns.

    Following that splash into his sophomore year, Gray is poised for a coming out party.

    But for the Aledo product, the 2014 season could be Gray's time to shine as the would-be junior could push for a Heisman campaign, Texas' first since Colt McCoy narrowly missed in 2008.

    Gray impressed in his first year in Austin, almost by necessity with Malcolm Brown missing five games with an injury. Should the trend continue, Gray looks all but set to be Texas' top option in the backfield for the next few seasons.

    A Heisman campaign is high praise and projection for a guy who graduated high school no more than 12 months ago, but if the right kind of pieces fall into place, Gray can build a strong argument in the coming years.

Potential BCS Contender

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    Having a winning team behind you as a Heisman candidate is critical in the campaign.

    By the 2014 season, the Longhorns could be looking at senior David Ash as quarterback, a senior receiver in Jaxon Shipley, senior running backs in Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron and a wealth of depth along the offensive line headlined by Josh Cochran and Dom Espinosa.

    That puts up plenty of talent and experience on an offense that has the look of a giant.

    If Gray develops into an all-around monster, he will have the supporting cast and a potential BCS game on his resume to fling him into the conversation.

He's Already Been "The Guy"

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    With Malcolm Brown missing time due to injury, Gray had the opportunity to take the reins of the running game.

    Gray appeared in all 13 games for the 'Horns last season, demonstrating his durability and performance over the course of a full year.

    A healthy Gray is a reliable Gray, and he has already shown that he can be "the guy." If he can progressively increase his production and maintain his reliability, Gray has the kind of stage to shine.

He's Got the Skill Set

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    Speed. Strength. Determination. Hands. Vision. Work ethic. All descriptors of what Gray provides.

    What he lacks in brute size, Gray more than makes up in his athleticism and demeanor.

    As the featured back when Malcolm Brown hit the injury report, Gray proved he could carry the load as the main option on the ground. His 11 receptions last season show he is available in the short game, which complements the spread offense nicely.

    As long as good health keeps him on the field, Gray can do virtually everything out of the backfield.

He's Humble

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    Before even arriving on campus, Gray had a perspective of a consummate professional.

    Although Texas already posted a crowded backfield that included Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown, Gray understood the necessity to have multiple high-quality, high-performance backs on the roster—and it paved the way for Gray to have an immediate impact.

    Gray's attitude towards his craft is what ultimately leads him to his work ethic and its improvement. The sophomore set the bar very high during his freshman season, a standard that should only increase as he moves through the ranks for the Longhorns.