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Demarco Murray: Giants’ Eric Gray a tremendous athlete, great leader

The New York Giants believe they added a key contributor in the fifth round of this year’s NFL draft with Oklahoma running back Eric Gray.

Gray, who is compact at 5-foot-10 and 210 pounds, began his collegiate career at Tennessee before transferring over to Oklahoma for his final two eligible seasons.

Gray emerged as a star as a senior last year, racking up 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He was an All-Big 12 Second-Team selection.

One of Gray’s influences was his position coach at Oklahoma, DeMarco Murray. Yes, the same Demarco Murray who gave the Giants fits as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

Murray, a three-time Pro Bowl running back who once gained 1,845 yards in 2014, went back to his alma mater after his playing days to embark on a coaching career in 2020 after spending one season at the University of Arizona.

Since arriving back in Norman, Murray has developed several running backs who are now with NFL teams: Rhamondre Stevenson (New England), Kennedy Brooks (Philadelphia), and Gray.

“[Gray benefitted from] having a chance to come here and learn from a guy who’s been where he’s trying to get,” Murray said on the Giants Huddle Podcast. “Eric, since the first day I spoke with him, he’s always had a pro mentality. He’s always been very mature, always been an extremely hard work working kid with a great mindset. So for me, just trying to fine-tune some things here and there for him. But more importantly, just letting him know that, hey, man, you’re gonna be coached hard, you’re gonna be coached the right way.

“Eric’s been a great, great person to work with, a tremendous athlete for us, great leader for me. But also, a guy that I knew every day coming to this building, he was one guy I never had to worry about.”

The Giants have Saquon Barkley atop of their depth chart at running back at the moment but they hope they may have caught lightning in a bottle with Gray.

Murray believes they might have largely because of how coachable Gray is.

“Eric has always been a guy that he can see the field. As a coach, you always appreciate a guy that you can talk to in the classroom where you can tell him more detail and then he goes out there and does it that same second, that same way. And he’s always been a guy like that since he stepped on campus for me,” Murray said.

With Barkley still unsigned, Gray could see significant action at next week’s mandatory minicamp. But even if Saquon signs his tender and shows up, Gray is prepared to do what is needed to help the Giants win.

“I’ll do what it takes for the team. I’m a ‘we guy’ not a ‘me guy’ — I’ll do what it takes for the team,” he said.

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Story originally appeared on Giants Wire