The former two-year Buccaneer and Southern Methodist University standout was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the final pick of the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Friday night, live on ESPN from Las Vegas.

Among those watching Gray’s big moment live was Blinn head football coach Ryan Mahon, who coached Gray during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

“I’m just super happy for him,” said Mahon, who grew up a 49ers fan during the days of Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. “It has been a lot of years of him putting in a lot of work. When Danny came to Blinn, you could kind of tell after about week two of his first season that he was something different. Tonight kind of reiterates everything we thought from the very beginning.”

Gray, drafted 105th overall, excelled in both track and field and football at James Madison High School in Dallas before initially committing to the University of Missouri. After joining Blinn as a Division I bounce back, he spent both seasons of his Buccaneer career as one of the top targets in Mahon’s offense. Gray was a first-team Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection as a sophomore in 2019 after leading Blinn with 54 catches for 877 yards and eight touchdowns. As a freshman, Gray caught 15 passes for 409 yards and six TDs.

Gray graduated from Blinn as the No. 2-ranked junior college receiver and 11th overall junior college prospect according to accredited recruiting website 247sports.com.

Gray eventually signed with SMU and went on to post 1,251 yards on 82 receptions with 15 touchdowns (including two rushing) in 18 career games. Gray totaled 803 yards and nine scores on 49 grabs as a senior in 2021. 

Gray joins a 49ers team which reached the NFC championship game following a 10-7 season. San Francisco features eight-year veteran quarterback Jimmy Garappolo at quarterback, as well as 2021’s third overall pick Trey Lance.

The 49ers’ passing attack also features one of the top wide receivers in the NFL in Deebo Samuel, and emerging pass catcher Brandon Aiyuk.

Mahon said he believes Gray has the physical speed, physical traits, and football IQ to find a permanent spot in San Francisco’s offense. 

Gray, who measures in at 6’0 and 186 pounds, ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at March’s NFL Scouting Combine, which ranked fourth among all receivers. 

“I think his skillset translates really well to the NFL game,” Mahon said. “He’s got something that only God can give you in terms of speed, and he’s just gotten bigger and stronger since joining SMU. He’s built up some bulk and really just has the speed and ability to sustain longevity in the NFL.”

Gray is the sixth Blinn player to land in the NFL since Mahon took over the program ahead of the 2017 season, joining Kendall Sheffield, Corrion Ballard, Javier Edwards, Jhavonte Dean, and Josh Nurse.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.