Alumni Spotlight: Gregory Junior

September 13, 2023
Photo Courtesy of Jacksonville Jaguars

By Kyndall Fomby-Bell, Staff Writer

September 13, 2023

In 2022, Gregory Junior brought an abundance of excitement to Ouachita when he became the first National Football League draft pick in Ouachita Baptist University’s history. Junior played on the practice squad for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2022 season, and Tiger football fans and friends of Ouachita were nothing short of proud when the news broke in August that the Arkansas football star made the 2023 roster for the Jaguars. 

Ouachita’s head football coach Todd Knight saw the potential and character in Junior. “He is a local Arkansas kid from a town called Crossett, which is in our immediate recruitment area,” Knight said. “He was recruited and, very quickly, we saw his high character. He was the definition of a student-athlete. He was not a loud, boastful guy. He was a business guy who took care of his job, and there was never a flaw in his character on or off the field.” 

“Greg had two really good last years, and by the end of it, [he] hadn’t received an invite to the [NFL Scouting] Combine,” Knight said. “Our school hosted and ran [one] here for many of our players, and 18 pro scouts came. When Greg got his opportunity, he showed out,” Knight said. “He posted a great 40-yard dash, broad jump, Wonderlick test and more. He blew out everything he had to do in front of the pro scouts. Soon after, he signed with an agent who was an OBU graduate and took it from there.” 

Junior’s draft inspired other athletes who dream of making it to the next level. “There were 110 Division I schools that didn’t have a draft in 2022,” Knight said. “It’s not about where you’re from or what division you’re in, it’s about how badly you want it. Greg Junior made a point and helped our league, division and school with an inspiring statement.”

Junior’s gifts were impactful on the field and also in his personal life. Kendel Givens, who played with Junior during his time here, shares what the NFL player was like as a collegiate teammate. “Greg was someone you never saw down or mad,” Givens said. “He was always smiling and working really hard. He was a leader on the field, and you could always talk to him about anything. Greg gave the younger guys in his position a lot of confidence and guidance to work towards their dreams. He was an all-around great guy to look up to.”

Junior was a role model, and because of his work ethic that has proven to breed success, he remains a role model in the eyes of those who have played on the field with him and those who have watched him give the game his all. “Greg was a ‘lead-by-example’ kind of guy,” Dhante Gibson, who also played with Junior, said. “He was always humble and super encouraging to everyone on the team. No matter what, he gave 100 percent on the field and really shined on special teams. He let everyone know we are a small private school, but we are here.” 

Junior’s esteemed personality and diligent leadership changed the scope of Ouachita on a national level and brought attention to our university’s athletes, students and faculty. He is a gift that his peers on campus have witnessed pushing toward excellence and living up to that very standard.

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