Calling it the most difficult decision he’s had to make in his time at Mizzou, Missouri junior defensive end Shane Ray, surrounded by his mother, head coach Gary Pinkel and position coach Craig Kuligowski, announced that he would bypass his senior season and enter the NFL draft. The announcement came at a press conference earlier Wednesday afternoon at the Clinton Club at Mizzou Arena.
“I had a lot of great experiences here. My coaches believed in me from day one,” said an emotional Ray.
Head coach Gary Pinkel said that Ray and his mother went about this process the right way. The SEC defensive player of the year heard from back from several NFL teams (Pinkel couldn’t name how many) and they all had Ray projected as a first rounder. Pinkel put Ray in elite company.
“One of the great competitors I’ve ever been around in my life…my top life,” said Pinkel.
Pinkel treats each of his players like he would his own sons and tell them that if they are projected to be a first rounder in the NFL draft, then if they want to make the jump, and forego college eligibility, to go for it.
Kuligowski, who will win the American Football Coaches Association’s award for top defensive line coach in the nation, talked about Ray’s competitive spirit.
“The word can’t is not in his vocabulary…he’s not stopped at getting better since he’s been here,” said coach Kul.
Shane Ray makes his announcement
Gary Pinkel talks about Ray as a player and a person