Last year's starting quarterback Ingle Martin is in the NFL now but the Furman Paladins are still in great hands as junior quarterback Renaldo Gray has stepped in and handled the challenge extremely well. The Paladins are #3 in the nation and Gray has seen his confidence soar with each week that passes by. The former Greenwood High star took some time out to speak with SCPrepNation.com about his career playing for the powerhouse Paladins.
Furman has gotten off to a 4-1 start this year with the lone loss coming at the hands of the North Carolina Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. While the backfield duo of Jerome Felton and Cedrick Gipson gets a lot of the accolades people are starting to realize that the new quarterback is the glue that keeps the entire team together. "It's been pretty good, we struggled the first couple of games with everybody getting used to one another. We've settled in with one another and it's making things a lot easier now," Gray told us.
With those early struggles some questioned the Greenwood star's ability but this is what Gray had to say, "I knew coming into the season it was going to take a few games to get my feet wet, and to get used to the actual speed of the game."
Having thrown for 640 yards on 46-73 passing with 2 touchdowns on the year Gray enjoyed his best game to date in the narrow 45-42 loss to the Tar Heels. Gray completed 20 of 26 passes for 310 yards and 1 touchdown.
"The North Carolina game was a confidence builder because we struggled the first two weeks and nobody expected us to play well." Gray still sees room for improvement though as he informed us, "I still need to work on a lot of things but I think my ability to run and pass gives opposing teams problems."
With the team running on all cylinders and the team poised we asked him what the goals were for this season and he responded, "Just to be successful. As an offense, keep moving the ball. Continue to work hard and win the Southern Conference championship and then the national championship. However we get there."
Asked to reflect back on his days at Greenwood High Gray said one memory stood out the most to him. "I think it was probably my junior year against Dorman. I think we were like #1 and #2 in the state at the time and that was the most people ever at a football game at Greenwood High." As for the current Greenwood Eagles Gray says that he keeps a watchful eye on the scores Friday night to see just how they are doing.
With a game set to be televised on CSS this weekend against Coastal Carolina the Paladins are focused on the task at hand. Some of the fans however are looking forward to the game after this weekend against Appalachian State. That matchup will pit two former Greenwood star quarterbacks against one another in Gray for Furman and Armanti Edwards for the Mountaineers.
Gray made it clear that his mind is on Coastal Carolina at the moment but he gave us a little info about the matchup against the Mountaineers. "Yeah me and Armanti talk at least twice a week. We're going to get their best shot. Going up to Boone (NC) is always tough. It's not going to be easy but we're going to continue to work hard and prepare for them."