Don't be fooled Tiger fans, Bowden isn't concerned with that kind of hype. He wants top-notch production from all of his players on a consistent basis, and there is no question that one of the best ways to accomplish that is by having a little competition for even the best players on your team.
The only way to really do that is to recruit with the Florida State's, Tennessee's, and Michigan's of the college football world. Any serious football fan understands that a great program is built on strong recruiting classes year after year.
Enter wide receiver Mario Raley.
Raley (6-1, 170, 4.45) of Charlotte Independence High School might be one the most talented receivers in the country. Last season, he caught 107 passes for almost 1,800 yards, and yes those numbers are correct, in fact, they rank #2 in North Carolina prep history. Not only can he catch the football, but he also likes to "take it to the house," as he piled on 21 touchdowns to those gaudy statistics mentioned above.
Grades are not a problem for this young student-athlete, as he has over a 3.3 GPA.
"I have over 40 offers, but I would like to to take some trips before I decide. I went to summer camps at Tennessee and Georgia. I also like Clemson and Florida State. I probably like Clemson the best," says Raley.
|The interesting thing about Raley is that he may command a 2-for-1 deal. His cousin also plays receiver for Charlotte Independence. Eric Lyon, who is 6-2, 190 lbs, and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, has also been catching the eyes of some division 1-A schools. The two receivers combined for almost 3,000 receiving yards and 175 receptions last season, and I don't have to tell you that those kinds of stats are unheard of in high school football. Raley's good friend QB Chris Leak has also been thought to be a major college football prospect as the trio led Charlotte Independence High School to the North Carolina State Championship last season.||
WR Mario Raley
Raley also attended the Nike camp this summer in Atlanta and was reported to be the best athlete there. He was noted there for running very crisp routes and having excellent hands.
As you would expect the Clemson coaching staff has been on this kid since day one and he was offered a scholarship early in the recruiting process.
And why not, Raley has been referred to as "tenacious" when he catches the football, grabbing anything that comes close, even if it means fighting off a helpless defensive back. His personality comes across the same way, as he often stated that he wants to break all the state receiving records he can this season, and win another championship in the process.
With his kind of confidence and natural talent, any school would be lucky to win the services of this kid.
Many recruiting services have Mario as one of their top 5 wide receivers in the country, and here at CUTIGERS.com, we agree. He should be one of the athletes the staff recruits the hardest.
Our short list of who else the coaching staff will realistically focus on at WR/ATH for the 2002 class:
1) Mario Raley Charlotte, NC
2) Kelvin Grant Camden, SC
3) Troy Williamson Silver Bluff, SC
4) Charles Ben St. Matthews, SC
Talk about it on the CUTIGERS.com Premium Message Board.