Sitting amongst fellow teenagers, sporting a New York Mets hat and dark sunglasses, he had some idea that he was visiting his future home for the next three years.
Tyler Bray was committed to San Diego State but the courting of Tennessee and then-head coach Lane Kiffin during a recruiting visit to Rocky Top changed all that.
Moving from Kingsburg to Knoxville over the winter of 2009 sealed the collegiate fate for the quarterback. He would join Nash Nance and Matt Simms as signal-callers in the Vols' 2010 signing class but it wouldn't be long before the No. 1 job was Bray's.
The 6-foot-6, 232-pound California kid finished his career with the Orange & White having completed 540 of 922 passes for 7,444 yards with 69 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.
Bray was back on the artificial turf on Robert E. White Indoor Field on Wednesday to show off his skills for National Football League scouts with the league's draft just over a month away.
Afterward, the QB answered several questions for InsideTennessee. Here's what Bray said:
What's your relationship like with coach (Butch) Jones? Have you had a chance to sit down and talk with him since you told him you were going pro?
That was the only time we've ever talked.
Why do you think that is? Is that just being busy with your line of work, getting ready for the NFL Draft?
He's busy with recruiting, doing all his head coaching stuff. I'm busy doing my stuff.
You've seen some practices. You were at the scrimmage Saturday. What do you think about this offense they're installing here?
Still learning. You can tell by how they line up, how they play they're not playing to their full speed. I mean they're still learning. If you don't know then you're going to play slower. When you actually know it, you're going to play fast. They've got a whole new offense. They're going up-tempo, faster than we were last year. So, it's going to be a bit of a learning curve but it will be fine.
I was going to ask you about the tempo. How different can that be for Nathan (Peterman) and Justin (Worley) having to move so quick, so fast?
It actually helps. It takes kind of the whole thinking process out of it. You kind of play more on reactions, which helps quarterbacks and hurts others.
There were probably 60-80 visitors here Saturday and tons of guys like you — former Vols. Had you ever seen a practice like that when you visited Tennessee or when you were here at any point with so many people here?
|Bray's 34 touchdown passes were the seventh-most in a season in Southeastern Conference football history.|
No, we never had an open practice. It was always closed. So, we normally just had the people around the complex that are normally here. The rest of the people were kind of sheltered out.
What do you think about that approach? Does that make it tougher to concentrate? Or, do you like having former Vols and recruits around?
I think they like it. I mean it gets the energy level going where they can keep the tempo of practice going well. I think it helps practice. I mean you're going to go out there and play with a bunch of fans out, why not practice with them too?
When you're out there throwing to Da'Rick (Rogers), C.P. (Cordarrelle Patterson) and Justin (Hunter), do you ever wonder what might have been had everybody stayed?
Yeah. We probably would still have the same record, just would have scored a few more points.
In terms of having as long of a pro career as possible, do you think there's a certain situation that will fit best for you? Would you like to come in and have an open starting job, or would you like to come in and be behind a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and learn under somebody?
That would probably be best to come in and learn. I'm 21 years old — the youngest quarterback in the draft. So, coming in and starting is probably a bit unrealistic. Coming in to back up a guy, learning the system, just getting used to things and eventually become a starter.
Have you talked to a Matt Schaub, an Aaron Rodgers, a Ryan Mallett, anybody about what it's like being a back-up in the NFL?
I haven't talked to anybody.
You haven't done it in awhile, not since your freshman year. Do you think you can hold a clipboard and wear a hat for 2-3 years maybe somewhere? Do you have the patience to do something like that?
They're paying us to do it, so yeah. That's my job. Whatever they tell me to do, I'm going to do. If they tell me to go out there and kick field goals, I'm going to kick field goals.
How do you think Tennessee fans will remember you?
Who knows? We didn't win a lot of ballgames so it probably wasn't good.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a team that won ballgames, but we didn't. So…
Here's more of what Bray said to the media after Tennessee Pro Day:
InsidTennessee filmed some of the former Vols working out for the scouts. Here's the footage: