College football recruiting hits earlier on the calendar than ever and the prospects who develop earlier in their prep careers benefit just as much. It may have begun because of his older brother, rising-senior Max Wray, but class of 2020 offensive line prospect Jake Wray is already north of a dozen scholarship offers on his own merit.
The Franklin (Tenn.) standout has seen his stock soar in the last six months or so and it has upticked again over the last week or so with a visit to Alabama and Clemson before Ohio State pulled the trigger with another offer Monday.
The Crimson Tide extension came during Iron Bowl weekend versus Auburn in late November.
"It was my fourth offer, I couldn't believe it," Wray said. "When I was just told I was going to go to the 'Bama-Auburn game I was freaking out. And then my dad said, 'by the way, you have a scholarship offer from Alabama.' And I started freaking out..."
That Tuscaloosa trip was fueled by the game and the surprise of the offer, but the Wray family returned on Thursday for a more thorough look at the program without a massive rivalry game in the middle of the trip.
"We wanted to check out the school a different, time, when it wasn't as busy, I think those are the best times to go on visits," he said. "We wanted to come check it out. It was way better, we saw all the academics, the forms, the athletic facilities. It was just a great visit.
"Then we talked to coach (Nick) Saban and coach (Brent) Key, me and Max both separately."
The family was on campus nearly 10 hours and approached the brothers as individuals when it came to the recruiting portion of the day.
"They take us around together but when we talk to the coaches we did it separately," Wray said. "Like I talk to coach Saban by myself, with mom and dad, while he talks to coach Key. And then I went to talk to coach Key while he talked to coach Saban.
"I think it was great, he (Saban) didn't talk about football once when we were talking to him. We were talking about the relationships at Alabama and what they're really about. I really appreciated that, he really just have me really good advice."
With scholarships from college football's elite already in, the freshman standout says he is in the early stage of the evaluation process. While there is no timetable for a commitment, one part of the process is already clear.
"Location doesn't matter for me, I'll go wherever I have to go if it's the right school for me," he said. "Coaching staff is a big one for me. Also if it has the right major I want to major in (sports administration) and if the players like playing for the coaches.
"I don't have any favorites or anything but obviously it's 'Bama, 16 national championships, an unbelievable amount of All-Americans and draft picks and all that...it'd be stupid for me not to consider Alabama but I don't have any favorites at the moment."
Another factor could eventually be older brother Max, who is a Scout100 offensive lineman recently back on the market following a weekend decommitment from Georgia. The two are "close," per the younger brother, though the plan isn't for Jake to follow Max regardless of his eventual destination.
Alabama has offered the Wray brothers, as have double-digit programs. Several of them will soon get each back on campus for a closer look. The plan is to see Texas, LSU, Tennessee and Miami in the next few weeks.