Ray Hopes to Shine as a Junior Wide Receiver

Melvin Ray contributed to the 2013 Auburn football team and will try to earner a larger role this year.

Auburn, Ala.--One of the biggest surprise plays of the season was a 50-yard touchdown pass in the BCS Championship Game to walk-on receiver Melvin Ray.

As the walk-on from Tallahassee raced into the end zone vs. the team from his hometown, Florida State, no doubt that countless casual Auburn fans were wondering "who's that guy?"

Going into the national championship the former minor pro baseball player had caught just four passes for 58 yards all season. When he was on the field it was normally as a blocker or to contribute on special teams.

Melvin Ray is shown on his touchdown catch vs. FSU.

With Auburn's spring practice opening next week Ray is one of the players looking to show the coaches he is ready for a larger role in the offense this fall. He noted that he plans to work hard to develop his skills on the football field when the Tigers put the pads on again to begin the defense of their SEC championship.

"I tell you what, coming from the minor league experience until now, has helped me to have a more mature mindset," Ray said. "It's helped me tremendously.

"It's helped me to know what's more important to focus on as far as my daily diet, the way I work out, the way I help lead my teammates and everything and everybody around me so I just work hard at what I do. I try to be coachable," he said.

Ray said he really enjoyed being a part of Auburn's 2013 SEC Championship season after being a freshman on the 2012 squad that did not win a league game.

"It was like a dream come true with so many people doubting us," he said, noting that Coach Gus Malzahn told the players they could be winners if they put enough effort into making it happen. "We worked hard, very hard, to be successful and Coach Malzahn wouldn't let us think less of ourselves," he said.

While much of Auburn's offensive success in 2013 was due to having a strong running attack, Ray said that the Tigers have the potential to be successful throwing the ball, too.

"Coach Malzahn is very smart," he said. "We are going to go with what works. Our offense was very successful and we were going to keep running Nick Marshall and Tre Mason until other teams proved to us they could stop them. When those guys were running it well, it made us dangerous when we passed the ball."

Ray said that Marshall's passing skills are better than some suspect because of the quarterback's inconsistency last season.

"The thing about Nick is his passing is actually why he won the quarterback position at the beginning of the season," Ray said. "He has an arm like I?have never seen in my life and with another season coming, and all the extra work, he can only get better."

The Tigers will hit the practice field on Tuesday for their first spring workout and the annual A-Day spring game is set for April 19th.


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