For his achievements on the football field and basketball court, Gray has been named the Sparks Tribune’s 2012-2013 Male Athlete of the Year. The award, which is chosen by the Tribune sports staff, goes to the top senior athlete from the three Sparks-area high schools: Reed, Spanish Springs and Sparks.
On the gridiron, Gray took home the recognition of the North’s Offensive Player of the Year to go along with the High Desert League's offensive POY, first-team wide receiver and second-team return specialist. He then followed that up by being named to the HDL's second team for basketball, despite recovering from a broken collar bone suffered in the D-I North football semifinals.
While the injury brought a sudden end to Gray's football season, in which he racked up 1,329 receiving yards while hauling in 93 receptions and accounting for 20 touchdowns, it also sidelined him for the first portion of the Reed boys basketball season. Despite missing the first half of the schedule, Gray returned to the Raiders for the majority of league play as he helped the Blue and Gold to the No. 3 seed in the High Desert League before it lost its playoff opener at Galena. The senior finished the season averaging just over 10 points in the 13 games he played, the third highest average for the Raiders.
Gray said the injury was difficult for him to take, but the senior kept his head up and contributed to his teams in other ways.
"It was hard to be out and just have to watch my team, especially playing for state against Bishop Gorman, one of the best teams in the country, and not being able to play them," Gray said. "I still wanted to help us win, so I did what I could from the sidelines.
"I was teaching a couple of guys my spot, like what to do on plays and what routes they had. I had to be a more vocal leader since I couldn’t play. I’m more of a on-the-field leader, like I show by example, but I had to become a vocal leader and be there mentally for my team instead of physically."
That determination to help his team did not surprise Gray's coaches.
"He is so hard working and extremely talented and athletic, and on top of that, he is still humble," Reed basketball coach Dustin Hall said. "He was a varsity starter for three years and there was not one time that he complained about his role. You ask him anything and he'll do it. He's just tough as nails. And taking all of that into consideration, he's an even better person than he is an athlete."
Gray's football coach, Ernie Howren, shared in those sentiments as well, highlighting the talent Gray displayed on every snap.
"You think back to all the different times you watched Devin compete, and I think the thing that stood out the most for me was just how easy Devin made it look," Howren said of Gray's raw athleticism. "I think that’s why it’s so fitting to call him Male Athlete of the Year because he is so athletic and he just makes the game look so easy.
"It looked like he wasn’t even giving half the effort of other guys who were trying to defend him. He is so flawless in what he does. That put him at a different level than everybody else on the field."
Of all the amazing plays Gray made, Howren said the one that sticks out in his mind was an inside slant route that Gray took 49 yards for a touchdown in the Raiders' regular season finale at Spanish Springs.
"He made the rest of the field look like it was standing still. It was just him running around out there," Howren said. "He did that a lot all season long. He’s a special player and a special person."
Hall said that if it were not for Gray's injury, the senior probably would have had the same type of impact for the Raiders basketball squad.
"I spent a lot of nights not sleeping when he was hurt," Hall said. "Going into the year, we had high hopes and I anticipated him being one of the best players in our league. Obviously when he broke his collar bone, it was a huge shock to our team and it set him back. When he came back though, he was an instant contributor. If he wouldn't have broke his collar bone the sky would have been the limit and I definitely think he would have been a first team all-region caliber player."
While Gray's athletic abilities make up one half of his game, it is his intelligence that makes up the other.
"One thing that I think gets missed with Devin a lot is the football IQ that he has. It was as high as any athlete that we’ve had," Howren said. "There were a lot of things we could do with Devin that we could not do with other football players because IQ wise on the field, he was just a level above everybody else. So it wasn’t just his athleticism. It was also his football mind that set him apart from everybody."
Gray said his success on the gridiron and hardwood was a combination of factors.
"I’ve always been raised around sports," Gray said. "The first time I shot my first ball I was around 2 years old. I just always liked it. I always looked up to my dad and he raised me around sports, so it was kind of natural for me I guess. I think some of it is just in my genes when you look at my dad and my family, but there is a lot of hard work that I put in, too. I’m always working hard and trying to get better. I want to be the best at everything I do."
With graduation just around the corner, Gray will continue his football career at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. It is a chance that Howren said Gray will make the most of.
"There’s no doubt he’s ready for the next level," Howren said. "He’ll be a one-and-done. He’ll be there for one year and then he’ll be gone after that because he’ll get a full-ride at a four-year university. He’s going to go on to a big school after he shows his talents at the JC level."
Gray said he plans to play with the Wolverines for a year or two before hopefully moving on to a bigger school. Regardless though, he is just thankful for the chance to keep playing.
"It means everything to still be able to play football and have it be a part of my life," Gray said. "Sports is pretty much my whole life. I’ve been playing it since I could walk and it’s a great opportunity to play at the next level. I just want to keep it going."