Ray Graham and his Pitt teammates knew he was back from the knee injury that ended his 2011 season when he rushed for 172 yards against No. 1 Notre Dame in November, including a 55-yard burst on the first play from scrimmage.
But Graham, Pitt’s second all-time leading rusher, wants to make sure he proves the same thing to NFL coaches and general managers at the scouting combine. And he gets his chance Sunday when the running backs are tested and drilled at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I know a lot of people doubt me,” said Graham, who rushed for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. “A lot of people see me, but they don’t know I’m back yet. I just want everyone to know I’m here to do everything, I’m healthy, I’m feeling good, I’m back.”
Graham (5-9, 199) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Connecticut on Oct. 26, 2011 and missed Pitt’s final three games. At the time, he was the second-leading rusher in Division I-A with 958 yards and considered skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
But he returned for the 2012 season opener, posted his first 1,000-yard season and ended up passing Curvin Richards for second place on Pitt’s all-time rushing list behind Tony Dorsett.
His only disappointment was missing Pitt’s Compass Bowl game – his final in a Panthers uniform – because of a hamstring injury.
“I still had my hopes high,” Graham said. “I still kept a smile on my face every day. I knew one day I’d be back here and I’d be going again, be back up, be back at it.
“It’s just another challenge in my life that God has planned for me. Being that high and this year, to where you got to make a name for yourself again, it was a humbling experience for me. I’m gonna go out there, work my butt off and do whatever I got to do to get on someone’s team.”
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