Growing up in Harrison, Ark., Wade Grayson is one who can truly call Arkansas home. Grayson may be as pleased to be a Razorback as they come. For Grayson being an Arkansan who grew up as a Razorback fan; becoming one makes it all the more special. For UA’s offensive line, Grayson has become as important of a Razorback as they come.
Grayson, a senior on the offense line, has started 25 games for the Razorbacks, including 12 straight. Though he has been playing on the field since 2007, it isn’t particularly often you hear from an offensive lineman. But for this year, things have been different for Grayson; he has stepped into a larger leadership role.
“I probably spoke up more during this preseason camp then I did these past three years” Grayson said. “It’s just something that sparked in me.”
In 2009, Grayson appeared in 12 games. He was a member of an offensive line which blocked for a unit that led the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (36.0) and passing offense (295.5) and was third in total offense (427.3) His blocking helped Arkansas set school records for yards in a game (447 vs. Missouri State), passing yards in a season (3,842), passing yards average (295.5), passing touchdowns in a season (32), and passing first downs in a season (147). Grayson doesn’t see any reason why the Razorbacks won’t keep rolling this season.
“I think we’re going to do very well this season, as our offense was predicted to be one of the best in the country,” Grayson said. “I think that stands true with all the receivers and tight ends and the experience we have on the offensive line. We definitely have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. And I think our defense has really been stepping up this season as well, I think we are going to be able to go far.”
Grayson gets his inspiration from a familiar face in Razorback history. He is from the same hometown as Brandon Burlsworth. The former Razorback walked on to the UA squad in 1994 and didn’t earn a starting position until 1996. He played in 34 consecutive games including the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1999. He earned numerous awards, such as All-SEC accolades and first-team All-American honors by The Football News. Burlsworth tragically died in a car accident only two weeks after being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.
“It feels good to come out and represent Arkansas as a state and Harrison where I’m from, and where Brandon Burlsworth is from,” Grayson said. “I looked up to him when I was a kid and now I try to perform as well as he did out here. He left a big impact on the whole state, and I want to do the same.”
Grayson also plays in honor of his family and especially his grandfather, who passed away prior to seeing Grayson begin to make an impact for Arkansas.
“My family is really proud of me,” Grayson said. “The only bad thing is my grandpa passed away my freshman season so he didn’t get to see me play these past couple of years. That’s one thing I want to do all season; play for my grandpa”.
Grayson has one last season to finish off an exemplary UA career. For the lineman, it won’t make as much of a difference in how many starts he made or the blocks he held. Grayson measures his success in Arkansas pride, and he’s got plenty of it.