Eric Gray had a superlative season opener for Lausanne Collegiate School against Rosa Fort, carrying the ball 17 times for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
The 2019 four-star all-purpose back, committing to Michigan on July 1, has always been an offensive threat. But for the first time, he is dedicating his entire season to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The 5-foot-10, 191-pound speedster is asking people to donate a dollar amount per touchdown or just a one-time donation to help reach his goal of $10,000 by the end of the 2018 football season.
“One of my teammates (kicker Isaac Weiss) told me about touchdowns for cancer and how all the proceeds would go to St. Jude,” Gray explained. “He and I decided to represent it and help the kids.”
Isaac Weiss raises money for his kicks and Gray does the same for his touchdowns.
In July, just one month before Lausanne’s season began, Gray’s father sat him down to talk about a way to give back through football. The ultimate goal was to get his son thinking about a charity for when he’s older.
Gray, who plans to create a charity of his own one day, decided he wanted to make an immediate impact. That’s when he got in touch with Weiss.
“This definitely shows me that you can use football as a platform to so many bigger things in life,” he added. “The ability to play football puts you on a pedestal where you can help change lives and really make a difference.”
In the 2017 season, Gray ran the ball 232 times for 3,151 yards and 45 touchdowns. He added 11 receptions for 268 yards and three scores. A year earlier, as a sophomore, he went for 2,215 yards on the ground and 38 touchdowns.
Gray said he will attempt to push himself to the next level for St. Jude’s children’s hospital as a senior in 2018.
“It’s going to give me more motivation to be the best I can be and play with a chip on my shoulder,” Gray said. “Knowing that my touchdowns mean so much more than just points this season will definitely impact me.”
The four-star prospect is ranked No. 246 in the nation, No. 3 at his all-purpose back position and No. 9 in Tennessee, according to 247Sports Composite. He picked Michigan over 22 other schools, including Penn State, Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Gray has earned back-to-back Mr. Football awards in Tennessee.