One of the biggest needs for the Florida Gators down the stretch run of recruiting is to add more defensive lineman to the class and they have several targets still left out there.
Defensive end LaBryan Ray (6-4, 255, Madison, AL. James Clemens) is one of those top targets for the Gators and he has plans to take an official visit to Gainesville next month.
“I know I have on the 13th I have Tennessee and on the 27th I have Florida,” Ray said of his January official visit plans. “And it’s probably going to be Alabama on the 20th, and then I’m going to take a mid-week.”
This will be the third time in Gainesville for Ray but this time he hopes to be able to spend more time getting to know everyone.
“You know, I’ve been to Florida but I haven’t been able to stick around there,” Ray said on what he wants to see during his official visit to Florida. “It’s been like I would go there and just go for the game and then I would have to come right back. So you know it’s just getting a whole weekend to be in Gainesville and have a good feel around the campus. And spend more time with the coaching staff, that’s important.”
Florida has been a team talked about a lot with Ray and the defensive end says defensive line coach Chris Rumph is one of the things that have him interested in the Gators.
“You know, the type of players that they put out and what type of defense they put out,” Ray said on why he’s interested in Florida. “They play fast, fierce. And speaking for me, they’ve had great d-linemen come through there. So that goes back to the coaching, and that’s Coach Rumph and what type of stuff he teaches. That’s really important.”
Rumph is a coach that most recruits get along great with because of his personality and Ray is one of those recruits that has a good relationship with the defensive line coach.
“Great, man,” Ray said on his relationship with Chris Rumph. “You can tell on and off the field, he’s the type of coach to where if you would have a problem you could come talk to him.”
The defensive line coach hasn’t been the primary recruiter for Ray though as former defensive coordinator Geoff Collins was that guy but Ray says him leaving doesn’t affect his interest in the Gators.
“No, cause when you have that type of opportunity, you can’t really refuse it,” he said on if Geoff Collins leaving Florida hurts the Gators. “So I like Coach Collins, but you have to understand the big picture. But I try not to look at the coaching staff, but you also have to look at the school itself and what it stands for.”
Rumph now has help from several other Gators coaches as Ray says he gets messages from multiple coaches including head coach Jim McElwain.
“Yeah, he’s definitely recruiting me, very well, very great,” Ray said on Jim McElwain recruiting him. “So, and his message is what type of player you can be, getting me there and be coached up and just be able to be a great player.”
During Ray’s entire recruitment most people have pegged him as a lock to Alabama but he says that isn’t the case but admits that it’s tough for prospects to leave the state of Alabama.
“I guess it’s a little tough because you have people like ‘Go to Alabama, go to that’,” Ray said on how tough it’s for players to leave the state of Alabama. “But a lot of people that know me, that play around with it, so. But they really know me, they know what type of person I am and what I stand for, and just know that I’m going to make the best decision for me and my family.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Ray says he ultimately choose between Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Most people including myself believe it will come down to Florida and Alabama for the standout defensive lineman.