Four-Star TE Talks Bay Area Visit

Strongsville (Oh) tight end Ray Hamilton made his first ever trip to the West Coast last week. The four-star prospect visited Cal on Friday and Stanford on Saturday for junior day. He recaps the trip along with the latest in his recruitment. Check inside for details…

Ray Hamilton (6-5, 230) is one of the most coveted recruits in the nation. With over 20 offers, his college choices can be overwhelming at times. But he is taking it all in stride.

"I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can," said Hamilton. "You have to embrace it, it only comes around once. My dad played college football; he's been helping me with the process. But it was a little different in the 80s when he was being recruited.

"I have to take it serious. Playing college football, getting my degree, it's my future."

He's been doing his best to build a relationship with every college coach that is recruiting him. But the overwhelming number of offers is making Hamilton realize he will have to cut his list of schools to a more manageable number. "That's going to have to happen," added Hamilton.

"As much as what I want to build a relationship with all these coaches, I need to start cutting my list down. Seeing the campus, feeling the campus, meeting the coaches, it's really helping me a get a feel for schools."

Hamilton has already taken visits to Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia – where his father played college football – and he plans trips to Iowa, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Last week, Hamilton added two more made visits to his list – California and Stanford.

"It was awesome an experience, my first time on the West Coast," said Hamilton,

He spent his Friday in Berkeley and attended Stanford's Junior Day on Saturday.

"Cal on Friday, it was my own mini junior day," he added. "I got to go around and see the campus and meet with [head] Coach [Jeff] Tedford and [TE] Coach [Jeff] Genyk. They showed me the plans for the future, the facilities they have now and for the future. It is a really unique campus.

"I definitely appreciate them accommodating me on Friday. I was the only player there. Tedford made it clear they have a need for a tight end. Early playing time is a factor; it's something I will think about in the future."

The following day Hamilton went across the bay to Palo Alto.

"It was awesome," Hamilton said of Cardinal Junior Day. "Stanford and Cal, the campuses are two different places but I liked both of them.

"I really like both schools. I haven't picked one over the other."

Hamilton isn't ready to name any leaders. Nonetheless, he is strongly considering both the Cardinal and Golden Bears. His plans including majoring in business and marketing, and the two Bay Area universities are among the best in the nation in those particular fields.

Besides his major, playing in a pro-style offense is another advantage.

"It's a big plus, the pro-style offense," he added. "It's definitely going to factor into my decision."

A few more schools out West are recruiting him besides Cal and Stanford. Colorado has offered him and UCLA and Oregon are showing interest. He hasn't ruled any schools out West, including those that have not shown interest to date.

"We'll see what happens," added Hamilton. "Different schools pop up at different times. If they offer, I'll lay it out and do the research."

Hamilton is not ruling out committing early, but he definitely wants to make sure he makes the right decision regardless of when.

"I don't have a timeline," he added. "If I go to a school and feel comfortable. I'll come home do some research. When I'm ready to commit, I have to be ready and not play mind games with the coaches."

What aspects are you looking for when you make that decision?

"The campus, the setup, the academics, football wise – their needs –, how I get along with the coaches and players," said Hamilton. "College is where you make your best friends.

"Distance, I don't know if it will play a factor. At Stanford, I met a bunch of players from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They say you'll be busy with football and school that you go 110 miles per hour. You don't even realize you are far away from home."

Above all, he has no favorites, not even a childhood dream school. "You always dream of being recruited," he added. "You root for certain teams from where you live, my dad played for West Virginia. I was a fan of West Virginia.

"I keep in touch with West Virginia just as much as any other school. They are just like Cal and Stanford."

Academically, Hamilton reports a 3.4 GPA. He will take the ACT on April 10.

Stay with Scout.com and CalSportsDigest.com for continuing coverage of Ray Hamilton's recruitment.

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