WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Former Fort Bend L.V. Hightower High School standout Robert Grays passed away Tuesday afternoon after suffering a severe neck injury while making a tackle in the fourth quarter of Midwestern State’s 35-13 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday night.
The MSU sophomore general business major and football player died at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in his hometown of Houston. He was 19.
Hundreds turned out for a candlelight vigil was held remembering Grays positive impact on his coaches, friends and community and a successful life on and off the field Thursday night at the Jesse Rogers Promenade on the MSU campus.
Many at MSU and in the local community support and also are praying for the family during this very difficult time of loss.
“We are saddened by the loss of Robert Grays, one of our own. This is not an easy time for anyone associated with the football program,” MSU coach Bill Maskill said. “He was a tremendous individual. I really believe he might have been the most popular man on our team. He always had a smile on his face. I never saw him have a bad day.”
Prior to Midwestern State, Grays enjoyed a standout prep career at Fort Bend L.V. Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas. He was a two-time, first-team all-district performer helping the Hurricanes to three league titles.
“Robert touched many lives while attending the university, but perhaps he will be remembered best for his smile,” MSU President Suzanne Shipley said. “He was an inspiration on and off the field to those around him, and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, classmates, coaches and teammates.”
The 5-8, 160-pound cornerback received treatment at United Regional Medical Center before he was transported to Houston on Sunday afternoon.
Grays played an integral part in helping the Mustangs to an NCAA Division II playoff appearance and an 8-3 record as a true freshman which included a start in his collegiate debut. He finished the campaign with 24 tackles, while also helping out on special teams as a return specialist.
He earned a starting role at right cornerback this season. He matched a career high with seven tackles and broke up two passes in his final game against Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“He was an uplifting spirit for all of us. He was an exciting, fun loving guy. He’s going to be sorely missed,” Maskill said. “Somehow, someway we’ll find a way to fight through it. Robert would want us to forge ahead.”
Grays’ homegoing celebration was Saturday at the Word of Restoration International Church in Rosharon, Texas.
“The tragedy has struck at the heart of the community, and has affected us in many ways,” Shipley said. “Today, I encourage you to join with your peers to help one another. Together we are stronger.”
Photo by Trey Reed / MSU Athletic Communications