Utah State’s Daniel Gray has a bit of motivation entering his team’s opening game. The ex-Tennessee Volunteer returns to Knoxville looking to prove that he hasn’t missed a beat since being forced to redshirt last season.

Gray played in eight games for Tennessee as a true freshman in 2012. But the cornerback left the program following former head coach Derek Dooley’s dismissal, forcing him to sit out the entire 2013 season per NCAA rules.
“It sucked,” Gray told the Salt Lake Tribune. “You’re sitting there watching your friends do stuff you can’t do and if they lose, you have to sit there because you can’t do anything about it.”
Gray decided to join former Boyd Anderson High School teammates Travis Reynolds and Jojo Nelson at Utah State in 2013. He is eager to prove that he has made progress in his development, rather than regressing after a year away from football.

“We’ve been working hard this summer and I want to showcase that hard work,” he said. “Coming up here, Nevin got me in the weight room and showed me the important stuff I needed to know to get to the next level.”

Gray will join a Utah State pass defense that returns just one starter– free safety Brian Suite– from the previous season. The Aggies will face a revamped Tennessee wide receiving corps that includes preseason All-SEC favorite Marquez North, JUCO All-American Von Pearson, veteran dual-threat Pig Howard and five-star freshman Josh Malone.