Lauren Rabaino

Though only a sophomore, No. 9 Jono Grayson has made a name for himself on the Cal Poly football team.

In the three games Grayson has played in this season, he is second on the team in rushing, having netted 242 yards and averaging nine yards per carry. With two touchdowns and an average of 33 yards a catch, Grayson is proving himself a valuable player on the team.

Last year Grayson played the first eight games of the season before a foot injury prevented him from continuing. In that stretch of games, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound wide receiver from Marin City caught three passes for 37 yards and netted two yards on a pair of rushes.

He also returned two kickoffs for 55 yards against San Diego State.

“The game was on my birthday,” Grayson said, “but that was the day I messed up my ankle. It wasn’t the best birthday present.”

“He’s a talented runner with the football in his hands,” assistant coach Andy Guyador said. “He knows things you can’t really coach and he is very opportunistic, especially for such a young player.”

Surprisingly, Grayson’s play this season was for the most part unplanned. Since he was on the field last year, the coaches wanted him to redshirt this year.

“At first I was upset,” said Grayson, “but I saw that it was a year to focus on academics.”

As a wide receiver, Grayson has been playing for running backs Ryan Mole and James Noble, who were both injured around week two of the season.

“He’s done a very fine job filling in for those guys since they were injured,” Guyador said. “We knew from last year that he was a pretty special player.”

Grayson has enjoyed the time he has played with Mole and Noble.

“They are two great, great, great players,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from both of them. They’ve been really helpful and it’s unfortunate what they’ve dealt with this season.”

Noble admires Grayson’s work ethic and dedication to the team.

“He stepped up to the challenge and was willing to help the team,” Noble said. “I’ve played with him since the track season and he works hard on everything.”

Grayson was born Oct. 28, 1987 in San Francisco. His parents are Tim Grayson and Connie Bake and stepmother Traci Grayson. Brother Brett Grayson, 23, goes to Chico, and stepbrother Noah Bohman, 20, attends community college in Marin.

Grayson is the cousin of Darrell Jones, a former Mustang standout wide receiver and return specialist.

Jones, in addition to a scholarship, convinced Grayson to attend Cal Poly.

“He told me great things about the school,” Grayson said.

Entering Cal Poly as a business major, Grayson wanted to work as an investment banker after college. However, he is now considering changing majors.

“I really like little kids, so maybe I’ll become a teacher,” he said.

Grayson has been playing football since he was 7 years old. In high school, Grayson rushed for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior under head coach Ken Peralta at Marin Catholic High in Kentfield. He also caught passes for 315 yards and three scores and intercepted a pair of passes, helping the Wildcats to a 10-3 record, including a perfect 8-0 Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) mark and a runner-up finish in the CIF-North Coast Section Class 2-A playoffs.

He was named MCAL Player of the Year, MCAL Back of the Year, North Bay Player of the Year and earned first-team All-MCAL as both a running back and defensive back and Second-Team All-State as a cornerback. He was a First-Team All-MCAL all-purpose player and Second-Team All-Metro as a wide receiver.

Lettering in basketball, baseball and track and field, Grayson found himself in the sights of San Jose State, Idaho State, Cornell and Portland State.

Grayson thanks the offensive linemen on the team for his success thus far in his college career.

“It starts with them and ends with them,” he said. “It’s too bad they don’t get enough publicity.”

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