Hello: Mike McCray II

Submitted by Ace on March 6th, 2012 at 2:20 PM


McCray II (left) is also a standout TE for Trotwood-Madison; the elder McCray (right) was a captain at OSU.

As first reported by Scout, Trotwood-Madison LB Mike McCray II—the son of former Ohio State captain Mike McCray—made his commitment to Michigan official this afternoon ($):

"I have committed to Michigan," McCray stated. "I've been feeling like Michigan was the right school for me for two weeks now, and there's no reason for me to wait any longer. It's the right time for me to commit, and I'm very excited to be a Wolverine. I'm being recruited by Coach (Mark) Smith and we have a great relationship. We speak at least once or twice per week."

McCray becomes the 14th commit of the class of 2013 and the first linebacker. He told Scout he's being recruited as an inside linebacker, but as you'll see, I think he ends up on the strongside.

GURU RATINGS

Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
NR OLB 4* OLB,
#44 Ovr
ESPNU 150
Watch List
4*, 92, #10 ATH,
#168 Ovr

Michigan brings in another player generally regarded as a four-star, as McCray lands in the early lists of every recruiting service save Scout, which has released by far the most limited rankings (though that changes this week). Rivals is especially bullish on McCray's abilities, placing him all the way up at #44 overall in the country. Both Rivals and 247 list McCray at 6'4", 230 pounds, while ESPN (6'3", 225) and Scout (6'2", 220) have him a little smaller. Considering recent articles on McCray have him listed as high as 238 pounds, I think the higher figures are likely more accurate; some suggest that he could grow into a defensive end role, though he's needed at Michigan as a stronside linebacker, where his size projects well.

McCray landed at #18, one spot behind fellow commit Taco Charlton, in the recently-released Bucknuts top 50 players in Ohio. Mark Porter thinks McCray is headed for a position switch ($):

“He would be an active defensive end and will probably grow into that position as a college player. He plays linebacker now, but I think he ends up moving down to the line at the college level.”

However, the strongside linebacker in Michigan's 4-3 under is practically a DE; Jake Ryan took snaps at both SLB and weakside DE last year depending on the situation. In this case, McCray's size and possible tweener status could be a strength.

McCray really broke out in 2011 as a junior, helping lead Trotwood-Madison to a Division II state title. Scout's Bill Greene was extremely impressed with McCray's performance last season ($):

One of the more improved juniors in Ohio this season, and a legitimate Top-10 candidate in a loaded year in-state. McCray's improvement can be traced to better side-to-side movement, and better recognition from his linebacker spot. He is super-athletic, plays with high intensity, and displays good overall football intelligence. I definitely see McCray receiving an Ohio State offer at some point, and this weekend makes sense with his teammate Bradley on campus with him.

McCray was ranked at #13 in Scout's initial Ohio top 50 ($), but unlike teammates Cam Burrows and Bam Bradley, he did not receive that Buckeye offer (as of now, at least). Rivals Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt watched McCray play twice last season, praising his instincts, pass coverage, and discipline in his first evaluation, then saying this after watching him in the state title game (both links $):

At 6-4 and 220 pounds, McCray is one of the best playmaking defenders I have seen this year. He is always around the football, always playing at 100 miles per hour and never tiring despite going both ways. McCray doubles as a tight end on offense, and there are teams interested in him for that position in college. His highest upside is definitely on defense, though, where his combination of size, athleticism and playmaking ability should ensure a long career in football. If McCray plateaus right now he's still going to be one of the top linebackers in the Midwest, and probably the country. But McCray also has room to grow in his game. He can add strength and definition to his body in the weight room this off-season, which should also improve what is already pretty good speed. If he takes another step forward with off-season preparation, McCray is going to be scary good a year from now.

After the state finals, BuckeyeGrove's Mark Givler added, "McCray simply does everything you can ask a linebacker to do; he fills gaps, makes plays in space, and does a great job in coverage." For those afraid that McCray is too big for linebacker, it certainly sounds like he has the athleticism and coverage ability to play in space, and that shows up in his film as well.

OFFERS

McCray chose Michigan over Tennessee and Illinois, while also holding offers from Arizona, Boston College, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Nebraska, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Purdue, South Carolina, Syracuse, Toledo, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Oklahoma and Tennessee offers obviously stand out; despite the lack of an Ohio State offer, McCray was generating national attention when he decided to commit.

STATS

McCray had 88 tackles, two forced fumbles, and five interceptions—returning three for touchdowns—as a junior. As a tight end, he hauled in 30 receptions for 494 yards and nine touchdowns, making him the increasingly-rare true two-way player.

As a sophomore, McCray tallied 65 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions while catching 11 passes and scoring five offensive touchdowns.

FAKE 40 TIME

Rivals credits McCray with a 4.61-second 40, which is quite fast for a player who could conceivably play DE at the next level. While he's lauded for his athleticism, I'll still give that four FAKEs out of five.

VIDEO

Short junior highlight reel:

As noted, McCray has no problem dropping into coverage and making plays.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

McCray will immediately provide depth at SLB, a position only redshirt sophomore Jake Ryan and redshirt junior Cam Gordon—he of the multiple position switches—currently occupy among scholarship players. Ryan appears to have that job locked down for the next few years, while Gordon should be competent enough to play as a backup while McCray takes a redshirt year.

That said, McCray has the size and athleticism to be an early contributor, and his coverage skills could mean Michigan is afforded the luxury of sliding Ryan down to WDE and putting McCray in at SLB in passing situations once he has a handle on the defense. Once Ryan graduates, McCray will have every opportunity to take the starting job on the strongside; we'll see if he's battling, say, E.J. Levenberry for that role when this class fills out.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan now has 14 commits in the class of 2013, all but two of whom garnering four-star ratings on Rivals. McCray is the first linebacker in the class to commit—Charlton plays OLB in high school, but he's coming is as a WDE—and it looks like Michigan will take three total in the class. The other two will likely come from the trio of high-caliber recruits currenly listing Michigan at or near the top of their list: WLB Ben Gedeon, WLB Dorian O'Daniel, and SLB E.J. Levenberry.

For more detail on the scholarship situation, check out Brian's recruiting section from Monday's Unverified Voracity. Major needs for the rest of the class are at running back, wide receiver, defensive tackle, and cornerback.

Comments

Benoit Balls

March 6th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

Michigan now has 14 commits in the class of 2013, all but two of whom garnering four-star ratings on Rivals.

I LOL'ed after reading this. Not in a "Nelson from the Simpsons 'HA-HA'" kind of way, but more in a "muah-ha-ha-ha all your recruits are belong to us" kind of way.  And the son of a former Ohio captain to boot. Happy for Mike and the Team.

DeuceInTheDeuce

March 6th, 2012 at 5:10 PM ^

RECENT POSITIVES FOR MSU RECRUITING

1. Success over Michigan (and in general)

 

RECENT NEGATIVES FOR MSU RECRUITING

1. Michigan's switch to a pro-style offense

2. The ousting of the Tressel regime

3. Michigan's on-field success (and improved sexiness in bball)

4. No RichRod*

 

Even the Spartisans can see this. They've put all their chips in the "Dantonio is a superior coach and talent evaluator" kitty. Good luck with that. 

 

*Love him or not, a lot of people didn't like and/or trust the guy. 

 

uncleFred

March 6th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

We talk about regional recruiting, but when a player is ranked in the (for example) top 100 in their class aren't they "national talent" by definition?

If USC had recruited McCray wouldn't they have been recruiting "nationally"?  So isn't McCray a national talent? 

Hoke and co are after players from all over the nation, yes many are in the midwest, but they have offered players on both coasts and various states in between. 

Anyway, Welcome Mike! 

Go Blue!

triangle_M

March 6th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

Hoke tide rivalry.  Ohio believe. million years. Selling jerseys  good start. Should have sent a . . . poet.

 

But seriously, I hope we get Gedeon and Levenberry to complete this 2013 LB  triumverate.  Hoke knows what he's doing, and I don't think he'd take McCray unless he thought he was a lock to stay  Blue.

 

 

Indonacious

March 6th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

If i decoded twitter properly...Taco Charlton recently said "it may be a great weekend" after being asked who they were trying to recruit next. Also, there is a lot of chatter between Shane Morris and Ty Isaac and Taco referencing them, etc. What ever that is worth...

woodfeld

March 6th, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

Here's something interesting to think about....if Hoke lands Levenberry, Isaac, Treadwell and O'Daniel (all guys that you could say UM leads for), he would have landed 9 players ranked in the top 60 according to Rivals.  I know these rankings aren't final and I expect some guys to move down (some guys could also move up....Helmholdt even mentioned the only reason Dymonte wasn't higher was due to lack of film of him in coverage) and there could be decommits, but I don't care what OSU fans say, there would be no way Urban could beat that class given who they are after....again, according to Rivals.

Michigan also has a legit shot with Fuller, Cravens, Vanderdoes and Poggi, all top 60 guys. 

RakeFight

March 6th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Although it's early (as you stated), this is looking like a top 5 class... even if it were filled out with 3-star guys.  No matter how well Meyer does, I don't see them catching up just based on numbers of scholarships available.  

woodfeld

March 6th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

Not sure if there's any doubting this class will finish Top 5 on Rivals....question is if it will be #1.  If they land 5 more Rivals250 guys, that will be 17 in the Rivals250, which is the same number Alabama had in their #1 rated 2012 class.  Again, caveats of guys moving down in the rankings and maybe not having a large enough class to finish #1, but still, my point is made.

EDIT:  I take that back, Alabama had 16 in the Rivals250, 1 of their 4-star guys fell outside the Rivals250....they had 9 Rivals100 guys.

Seattle Maize

March 6th, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

Considering that we lead (or are in very good shape) for at least 5 more (Gedeon, Levenberry, Treadewell, Isaac, O'Daniel etc) and are in solid position for guys like Cravens, Poggi, Vanderdoes etc, I think there is a very good shot we end up with at least 17 commits in the Rivals250.

Seattle Maize

March 6th, 2012 at 4:15 PM ^

Considering that we lead (or are in very good shape) for at least 5 more (Gedeon, Levenberry, Treadewell, Isaac, O'Daniel etc) and are in solid position for guys like Cravens, Poggi, Vanderdoes etc, I think there is a very good shot we end up with at least 17 commits in the Rivals250.

StephenRKass

March 6th, 2012 at 11:35 PM ^

Look at that list below . . . we have 17 solid prospects among the Rivals 100 . . . BEYOND THE SEVEN CURRENT COMMITS ALREADY IN THE LIST!! (Note:  Gedeon is not listed in the Rivals 100, and it sounds like there is significant interest both ways.)

I can't really conceive of having 15 recruits in the top 100 players in the country. Just looking at the list, you can see several things. First, there isn't room for everyone. . . some will be left in the cold. Second, a bunch of these prospects are legitimately interested in Michigan. Third, it is going to be very tricky to fill every position of need. If we take the bolded players below, we have an additional DB, two WR's, a RB, a S, and three LBs. There would be room for no one else!  

  1. DB  #4  Kendall Fuller
  2. DB  #10 Vernon Hargreaves
  3. WR  #26  Robert Foster
  4. WR  #31  Laquan Treadwell
  5. RB  #18  Ty Isaac
  6. S     #5  Su'a Cravens
  7. LB   #15 E.J. Levenberry
  8. LB  #17  Michael Hutchings
  9. LB  #37  Dorian O'Daniel
  10. LB  #62  Peter Kalambaya
  11. LB    NL  Michael Gedeon
  12. DE  #14 Joey Bosa
  13. DE  #21  Eddie Vanderdoes
  14. DE  #100 Jonathan Allen
  15. DT  #33   Montravious Adams
  16. DT  #43  Henry Poggi
  17. OL  #3    Laremy Tunsil
  18. OL  #27  Ethan Pocic

74polSKA

March 6th, 2012 at 3:51 PM ^

I think the natives are getting restless down here.  I was just bragging to an Ohio fan at work about McCray's commitment and he started going off about how Hoke is throwing out offers and seeing who sticks and mentioned us offering a Sophomore.  I gladly pointed out the fact that our 2013 class is filling up and we're moving on to 2014!  This is tremendous.

MN Go Blue

March 6th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

Taco seems to believe the Hoke and Co. are not done.  He also said he knew about McCray for a week now and had to keep it quiet.  He was not the only one.  Lets hope he is right about us getting #15 soon.  Ty Isaac please.

Blue boy johnson

March 6th, 2012 at 3:56 PM ^

Welcome aboard young man.

Anyone one know the rarity of this move, ie, a son of a M/OSU player (captain no less) attending the other school? I know the Boren's are out there, but are there others?

MGoUberBlue

March 6th, 2012 at 3:57 PM ^

The spaces in the class are filling up with great kids.  Even better that some were buckeye fans all their lives until the big decision arrives.

Go Blue!

vablue

March 6th, 2012 at 4:22 PM ^

However, his offer list does not seem to correspond with his ranking. Is this just a function of it being to early in the process? Nothing to big to worry about, I trust Hoke and Mattison as much as anyone on judging talent, just curious.

Artie

March 6th, 2012 at 4:24 PM ^

Take it FWIW but "KOOBJOE" on the 247 message board had this to say: "McCray actually commited yesterday but it just got out today, and yes there will be atleast 2 more commits by Friday , possibly one of them later today my sources tell me."

Later on he says that: "As bad as i would like to tell you I cant or I would lose that source... lol.. But there is probably a 90 % chance of 2 more by the end of the week, and prob a 40 % chance that one of them will later today. Trust me as soon as it can be let out I will do my best to get it out to you. All I can say is Michigan is one the verge of having probably thier BEST RECRUITING CLASS EVER, in the history of Michigan Football and its only March."

Again, take it FWIW...along with a few grains of salt...