D'Angelo McCray Seals The Deal: He's A Gator

As he watched the Florida Gators scrimmage Saturday morning, D'Angelo McCray knew in his heart that he had found a home. Florida offered the right school, the right coaches, the right academics, "the right everything" according to the 6-4, 280-pounder from Jacksonville's Andrew Jackson High School.

(D'Angelo McCray profile)

"I just called Coach Urban Meyer to seal the deal," said McCray Saturday evening. "I'm a Gator because it's the best fit. It's the best fit for me right now. They've got the best fit for playing time and putting the best people around you to make sure you succeed."

It was a Florida-Florida State decision for the big guy who was timed at 4.85 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a recent Scout.com combine in Jacksonville. He said the final choice had as much to do with playing time as anything else.

"The Seminoles have way too many defensive linemen coming back so I had to do what's best for me," he said.

At Jackson, he's a player that strikes fear into opponents on both sides of the ball. The Tigers like to send him over the middle as a tight end where he can catch the ball and punish safeties in the open field. He's a load to bring down as evidenced by his 24 catches for 400 yards last season.

On the defensive side, he plays defensive end where he totaled 80 tackles last season including 26 for loss and 13 sacks.

His best game was against Raines, a game in which he had four catches for 100 yards as a tight end and four sacks.

"I had to have a great game that game," he said. "We had to beat Raines to get in the playoffs so everybody had to step up. I think that was my best game and it came when we had to have it."

At Florida, he said that he'll be a defensive end. He's looking forward to working with defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

"I watched the way he works with guys and he's really a great coach," said McCray. "I think he's a coach that can bring out the best in me."

While he was in Gainesville Saturday, he spent a good bit of time with Coach Meyer and with Marcus Thomas, Florida's big senior defensive tackle who is also from Jacksonville.

"I like the way Coach Meyer is with players," said McCray. "He really is a players coach and he really does care about all his players. I like that a lot.

"I liked what Marcus had to say about Coach Meyer and all the coaches. He said they really care and he also said that Gainesville's a great place to be. He said he's had a good time here and that it's a good fit for academics, football and social."

While it's on the defensive side of the ball that he's most likely to make his mark, McCray said Coach Meyer said he could see some action as a tight end as well.

"Coach Meyer said I could play tight end for 3-4 plays a game," said McCray. "I'll play tight end, defensive end, anywhere the team needs me. If it will help the Gators win, I'm ready. I'll play anywhere they need me."

He said that what he brings to the table for the Gators is a sure tackler, a pass catcher with good hands and a team player that always will give 100 percent.

"I can do a lot of stuff that can help the team," he said. "I try my best on every play. I don't take a play off. When I'm on the field, I know if I give it my best they'll have to be aware of me."

He has a 3.0 in the classroom and he took the SAT last weekend. He said he will have no qualifying issues. At Florida, he plans to major in business. He says he's aware that football doesn't last forever so he has to get a good education to secure the future. The future means taking care of the people that mean the most to him.

"I play for my parents," he said. "I want to take care of them because they've always taken care of me."

McCray is Florida's second big defensive end commitment in the last four days. Earlier in the week, Jerry Howard of Orlando Jones became the Gators first commitment for the recruiting class of 2007.

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