Mason Gray began his college career at the University at Albany and spent four years there. As a freshman, Gray came off the bench and started both his sophomore and junior season at Albany. After missing his 2018 season due to injury, Gray transferred to Robert Morris.
Gray first played for RMU in 2019 as a redshirt senior after his four years in Albany, where three of which were with Head Coach Bernard Clark and current Robert Morris Defensive Coordinator Dave Plungas.
The familiarity that Gray had with Clark and Plungas’ defense helped him step in and immediately impact the Colonials’ defense. His impact was felt most in a victory over Duquesne, returning two interceptions for touchdowns and forcing a fumble, leading the Colonials to a 41-21 victory at Joe Walton Stadium.
Gray recalled the moment fondly when asked about his favorite moment at RMU, which was that game between the Colonials and their cross-town rival Duquesne.
“Just the atmosphere, there were a lot of fans there,” he said. “Leading up to the game, there was a lot of trash talk coming from Duquesne.”
At Robert Morris, Gray played an integral part in the 2019 turnaround from their 2-9 record in 2018 to a 7-5 record. The team also improved from 0-6 in the Northeast Conference the previous year to 6-1 in 2019.
Gray stepped up to be a veteran presence on defense, even being named team MVP on the defensive side at the end of the year. He praised Clark and Plungas for allowing him to be a leader
Gray earned All-NEC honors as a Colonial, racking up 100 total tackles, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles from his safety position. After his redshirt senior season Gray turned his attention to the draft.
Unfortunately for Gray and many other small school standouts, COVID-19 shut down much of the pre-draft process. “It was heartbreaking. I felt robbed because I knew I could be up there and coming from a small school. I knew it’s already an uphill battle.”
After many opportunities were lost to COVID, Gray had to prepare for life after college and went into contracting. Through contracting, Gray found a unique opportunity.
“I was working on a basement, and one of my CFL liaisons contacted me and said, ‘If you’re not done playing football, you may want to look into the IFL (Indoor Football League) to get some film so you can possibly go up to the next level.'”
The talented defensive back joined the Green Bay Blizzard of the IFL in early 2021, instantly becoming an anchor for their secondary.
The District of Columbia native has made the most of this opportunity through two seasons in the IFL. In his first year, Gray made an immediate impact with 32 tackles and three interceptions in a seven-game season.
Gray has already managed to pick up two more interceptions in his second season with the Blizzard and has formed a close bond with head coach Corey Roberson, someone with whom he has built a close relationship.
“[Our relationship has] been great ever since I got here,” Gray said. “He’s been a great coach to me. He’s the defensive backs coach, so [the DBs] have a much closer relationship with him. We’re dealing with him literally throughout practice all day.”
Gray has been a leader at RMU and in the IFL, a quality he hopes to continue to bring forward to the next level.
“[Coach Roberson] put me on the leadership council as well this year, so we get to talk about things that are off the field.”
Gray still has his eyes set on continuing to play football and move up to the next level.
“I plan on hitting some CFL tryouts this year,” he said. “Hopefully, I can get picked up by one of the CFL teams so I can really show what I can do.”
Gray also talked about other leagues he’d be interested in playing in.
“I was trying to get into the USFL this year…I’m still pushing for that, possibly XFL next year,” Gray said. “I really want to move up. I really want to show everyone what I can do.”
When asked for some advice for young players, he shared that putting in hard work, making connections, and being an upstanding citizen were the three most important things to focus on.
Gray’s experience as a leader and the playmaking ability he has displayed both in college and in the IFL will help him move forward in his football career as he aims to make the next jump.