Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Spring Football: Former Famu and Jacksonville Jaguar QB Quinn Gray Ready to Lead Mandarin

Mandarin High School- The Orange & Green color combination is seen every where, from the main office to the stadium. Inside this must have felt like home for Quinn Gray as he trotted out to the fields for his first practice as the new Head Football Coach of the Mandarin Mustangs. Gray was a collegiate standout at Florida A&M University, whose school colors are also the eclectic combination of orange and green. And though Mandarin’s mascot is a mustang not a rattle snake, the program showed that they intend to strike their competition early, by out working them in spring practice. They’ll need to attack their opponents first because teams will certainly be coming for them. Mandarin completed the 2015 season as district champions and made a deep run into the state playoffs before being eliminated in the regional finals by West Orange. Coach Brian Braddock stepped down at the end of the season to take the Head Coaching job at St. Augustine High School, leaving a big hole in Mandarin’s program. A hole that Gray intends to fill. – Andre’ Ellis 


Check out some of the spring football observations by Duval Sports analyst Phillip Myers 

 

 

Head Coach:

Quinn Gray played High School football at Dillard High School in Ft Lauterdale where he received all region and all district honors. At FAMU, he finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (7,378), pass attempts (1,113), pass completions (562) and TD passes (57), and he holds the single-game record for most pass attempts (65 vs. North Carolina A&T in 2001). He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2002, and remained with the team as their 3rd string Quarterback until 2007. He’s played in NFL Europe winning a World Bowl Championship in 2003.

Coach Gray is an offensive guy , although he will work closely with the QBs and the offensive coordinator. The OC will primarily have the job of calling plays though, as Gray will delegate responsibility to his staff. Gray has no hesitations on getting his hands dirty as a Head Coach and will take a more active role in play calling if needed. He contends that the Mustangs wont change much on offense or defense, but Gray stresses the need for the Mustangs to play smarter, faster and more aggressive than in year’s past.

 

Quarterback:

There is an open competition at Quarterback for the Mustangs, and the Spring practice and game will determine who the team moves forward with as their starter heading into the fall. Tommy Moore and River Walker both transferred from Ridgeview High School. Tommy has the jump on River because he was in the same system last year, whereas River transferred this past winter. Walker is a smart kid and very accurate with the football. More importantly he’s very mobile which makes him a duel threat. The former Ridgeview starting QB looks to win the job at Mandarin.

Tommy Moore has a cannon for a arm and can throw the deep ball extremely well. He must capitalize on his familiarity with the offense and take a more commanding role in the huddle. Walker seems to have the early advantage in that category, as noted by Myers and a Citadel coach that joined practice.

 

 

Offense:

Mandarin is excited about the offense’s capability this year. They have several young and talented players ready to make a mark on the field. Here are just a few below.

 

 


Defense :

Defensive Coordinator Coach Sampson deploys an aggressive 4-2-5 defense that will be opportunistic. The goal is to create turnovers to get the ball back into the offenses hands.
He’ll have a few leaders coming back to accomplish this task.

Corner-back Brandon Holloway (2017) is their best cover guy. He’s a smart, fast, hardworking corner that likes to press his opponents if man coverage is called.

Terrance Curry is a defensive lineman that roll over the competition. The don’t call him “Tank” for no reason. He’s 6’3 265lbs and can play any position on the line.

 

Aundre Kearney

Kearney will lead the Mustangs on both sides of the ball. He’s big, physical, strong and the ideal size for D1 schools. “A grown man among boys” as one observer noted.Thus the reason he’s received tons of college offers. He is committed to Virginia Tech after de-committing to Miami.He was the Blue/Gray All-star MVP.The All-State Linebacker will also look to run the football at running-back, where he hopes to top the thousand yard mark.

Mandarin has a young and excited group of players with alot of enthusiasm for the first practice.Players are eager to make a mark on their new coaching staff this spring.

Special thanks to Mandarin High School for allowing us to come out and visit their spring football practice.

 

 

 

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