June 9, 2011

Missouri tight end picks up first offer

Austin Ray always believed the scholarship offers would come.

Still, when the first one made its way to the 6-foot-6, 235-pound tight end from Columbia (Rock Bridege), Mo., there was a flood of emotions.

"It was cool and exciting to get that first offer," Ray said, referring to the offer Ole Miss extended shortly after he participated in the Rebels' elite camp last weekend in Oxford, Miss. "It was nice to be recognized as a D-1 athlete and know that your previous hard work and sacrifice had paid off and had been noticed.

"You work so hard over the years to get to that point. You grind on the field, the weight room and the classroom. To know it all paid off is a relief."

Ray said the Rebels "just wanted to make sure I could block at the tight end position. They knew I could catch. They wanted to see me in person, size me up and get a feel for me."

Ray said he's in no hurry to make a decision, though Ole Miss is very clearly a factor in the race for his signature, at least at this point.

"It was my first visit there so I didn't go in with any expectations," Ray said. "I was impressed with all the facilities and it looked like a nice, clean campus and a fun place to go to college. It seemed like a big college town.

"They said I had the size they were looking for, the speed and that kind of thing. They thought I could fill out to 260, spread the field and get open as well as being big and physical enough to block."

Ray said he's confident more offers are forthcoming. He is possibly camping at Missouri Thursday. He will camp at Iowa June 11, maybe Kansas State on June 13 and then Duke on June 18.

"Most of them just want to get me to camp and see me in person," Ray said. "Once they do that, I'm hoping to get some offers my way."

"I'm just going to feel everything out, make sure I visit these colleges first, see how I fit in with the coaches and if it's a good fit for me."

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