The Florida Gators have had great luck recruiting the state of Alabama since head coach Jim McElwain and his staff arrived in Gainesville.
Florida and McElwain hope to continue that luck in 2017 and on Friday the Gators will host big time defensive end LaBryan Ray (6-4, 270, Madison, AL James Clemens) for the first time at Friday Night Lights.
Ray says he goes into the trip expecting good things and he described what he’s looking for out of his first visit to Gainesville.
“I want to see the campus and get a feel of the place,” Ray said. “ Also being the first time down there it will be the first time I get to talk the coaches in person so I’ll be able what type of people they are.”
The defensive end has a lot of big offers from just about every SEC school but he says the Gators tradition on defense is something that he had to check out for himself.
“Their defense and what type of players come out of there every year,” he said on what interests him about the Gators. “ They are a great program and will continue to be under Coach McElwain and his coaching staff.”
Despite Ray never visiting Gainesville before, Florida has been communicating with the defensive end a lot and even visited him twice this spring at his school.
“I talk to most of them over the phone, like Coach Mac, coach [Randy] Shannon, coach [Doug] Nussmeier and a few more,” Ray said on whom he speaks to over the phone. “Coach Mac, he’s was talking to me about getting me there and how he really wants to be a Gator and stuff like that.”
Defensive line coach Chris Rumph has also been recruiting Ray as of late and he sells a simple message about needing the defensive end in Gainesville.
“He tells me pretty much the same as Coach Mac,” he said of Rumph’s message. “Just how they really want me and they like me. He says I’m a guy that can play with my hand in the dirty but we really haven’t talked about that much. He just says he wants me.”
Ray is not close to making a decision but he says five schools are recruiting him the hardest as he heads into the fall.
“Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Michigan are recruiting me hard,” Ray said. “Honestly I don’t know when I’ll make a decision. I’m gonna take my official visits and take my time but if I find out where I want to be and my family feels good too, then I’ll cut it and make my decision.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Heading into the visit Alabama is the favorite here but Ray certainly looks to be looking at all of his options. The Gators need to get an official from Ray in order to be in the mix.