May 8, 2012

McCray earns MVP in Columbus

The son of a former Buckeye captain, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison linebacker Mike McCray was assumed by many to be bound for Columbus. However, when an Ohio State offer didn't come through early in the process, McCray grew an affinity for the rival Wolverines, eventually committing to Brady Hoke March 6.

"I have to say it was everything I'm looking for in a school," McCray said. "Family oriented program, winning program. A chance to compete for a Big Ten Championship. A chance to compete for a national championship, not too far from home. It just fit me, I think that's what it is."

The 6-4, 230-pound McCray did take his talents to Columbus over the weekend, however, to show off what he can do on the football field. Just a few miles from Ohio State's campus, he showed that the Buckeyes made a big mistake in not offering.

McCray's game is based around physical play moreso than speed, but he showed that he has more than adequate ability to cover receivers out of the backfield. He also impressed in pass-rush drills and individual work. By the end of the day, he was named MVP of the linebacker position at the camp, and earned an invitation to Nike's The Opening camp in July.

"It feels good," he said. "I know a lot of people think I'm kind of slow and can't cover well, but I think that one of my top strengths in my game is coverage and speed at my size. I'm just trying to prove people wrong."

McCray's strong performance demonstrated that Michigan made the right choice in offering the country's No. 44 overall player. Along with several of his future teammates - who impressed in their own right, including offensive line MVP honors for Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson - McCray was just one example of a strong Wolverine representation.

In fact, Saturday was McCray's first chance to see some of his future teammates competing on the football field. He came away pleased with what he saw. According to McCray, the future is bright in Ann Arbor.

"To see them in action, it was my first time," he explained. "I've seen them on film, but I hadn't seen them in person. I was thinking, 'we're going to be pretty good.'"

He also continued building a bond with his fellow members of Team 134, most of whom he met for the first time at the Wolverines' spring game April 14.

"If we build a bond now, when we get there it'll be an even bigger bond," he said. "We'll be together every day. The class that comes behind us, we'll just tell them to do the same thing. Just build a bond and it'll be stronger when you come in."

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