Washington State football players and coaches learned before their game Saturday at Utah that junior receiver Brandon Gray had been hospitalized after being shot early in the morning on the WSU campus.
Police said Gray was in serious but stable condition after a chaotic College Hill shooting incident in which one person died. Gray, who was believed to be the only other person shot, was taken by Life Flight helicopter to a Spokane hospital.
The Cougars learned the news before their 24-13 loss to the Utes.
“When you see something in the news like that, you never expect it to be someone you know,” WSU edge rusher Ron Stone Jr. said in a postgame Zoom news conference. “It’s shocking to know that not every day is guaranteed.
“There’s a lot of love in this locker room, a lot of love on the Washington State campus,” he said. “I think this is going to (bring) people together and feel that love and Coug-helping-Coug mentality that we all have.”
Gray, a fourth-year junior from Detroit, has caught only two passes for the Cougars, both in 2019, but coaches have described him as having a high upside, with his combination of speed and 6-foot-5 stature. He’s been shadowed by injuries throughout his career, and he seems to have been off the active roster since early in preseason camp this year.
Some of the older members of the WSU roster have experienced more than their share of shocking news involving teammates. Quarterback Tyler Hilinksi committed suicide in January 2018, and defensive back Bryce Beekman died of a drug overdose in March 2020.
“It was tough,” WSU offensive lineman Abe Lucas said of the news about Gray. “It seems to be a recurring thing around here. When I heard the news, it took me back to Tyler and Bryce. It’s a difficult matter but we’re praying for him.”
Cougars coach Nick Rolovich commended his players for how they dealt with the news.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” he said. “I have so much respect for this team, how they played. I know we weren’t great but for them to go out and play as hard as they did, with the news they got this morning about their teammate, I think is a tribute to their character.”
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