Senior Mississippi State receiver Donald Gray and five-year-old Jesse Sloan became best of friends over the past couple of seasons, and it all started with a simple hello.
Ever since she was a baby, Jesse has been attending Mississippi State football games with her parents. One of her favorite things to do was high five players after games.
When she was three years old, she gave Gray a high five and he asked for a hug too. The toddler happily stretched out her arms and their friendship grew from there.
Gray instantly became Jesse’s favorite person and had to see him after every game. “The love I have felt from Jesse and Donald Gray’s friendship is amazing,” said Delane Lewis Grogan, Jesse’s mother.
“She talked about him daily, would not leave a game until she saw him, worried if Santa and the Easter Bunny visited him, wanted him and Dak Prescott (former Mississippi State player and current Dallas Cowboys quarterback) to come to her birthday party,” her mother continued.
Over the next couple of seasons their friendship became well known amongst fans and people would often stick around to see them greet each other after games. Gray referred to Jesse as his “best girl” and Jesse had a special jersey made just for her with Gray’s number on it.
As with every college athlete, it has to come to an end sometime. This season was Gray’s senior year and last season with the team.
They started out as strangers, but now they considered each other family. The goodbyes after Gray’s last game of the season were difficult for everyone. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight.
Even though his days playing football at Mississippi State are over, Grogan said that they will always support Gray no matter what. “He has forever changed my family (and my heart). I have so many new friends because of this wonderful young man.”
Jesse and Gray made a pinky promise to be friends forever and to keep in touch as he starts a new chapter in his life after college.