McCray Spends Time with Coach Strong

Lerentee McCray says he doesn't have a top-10 yet, but it's looking more and more like it will be a dogfight between Florida and Miami for his services. The Gators had the most recent chance to lure the North Central Florida linebacker to Gainesville.

At 6-2, 200-pounds, Lerentee McCray is the No. 5 linebacker prospect in the country and finds himself ranked No. 22 after today's release of the Southeast Top 150. McCray's been to Gainesville a few times, living so close, but during this past weekend's visit, he spent one-on-one time with linebacker coach Charlie Strong.

"We were talking about how I play and how I would fit into their defense," McCray said. "We sat down and watched some film of some of their linebackers from last year and looked to see how I compared up against those guys."

McCray feels most comfortable playing on the weakside, so coach Strong spent lots of time going over reels of Earl Everett from last season.

"I was saying that I prefer to go through less traffic like a weakside defender," McCray said. "I like to hit and make plays. In high school, they really don't run to my side all that much, maybe 4-5 times per game. I really like to chase it down from the backside and show off my speed and athleticism."

The time spent with coaches Strong and Urban Meyer allowed McCray to learn more about the Florida staff. He has a clear vision of what a college coaching staff should be like.

"A good coaching staff has player's coaches," he said. "They know the right time to be hard on you, but also know the right time for it to be fun and games. They also have a team that buys into their system. That's what makes a good team - when the team buys into the coach's system. They're not going to be very good if they don't buy in. You have to have a real disciplined team in order to get the team to do what you want them to do."

How does he think the Gator coaches stacks up?

"They fit the description of what I'm talking about," McCray said. "They do everything I'm looking for and have things going really good there. They just won a national championship and have a lot of positive things going on there. They are all real good coaches."

But McCray feels the same way about the team he's routed for since he was a kid – the Miami Hurricanes.

"Miami fits into that mold real good, too," McCray said. "Coach Randy Shannon, he's a real fierce guy. If you look at him he looks like he has a real fierce side. Once you get to know him, there are times where he's not as serious, too. About 80-85 percent of the time, though, he's real serious down there. He has to be that way though because of the things that have gone on down there recently. The players are buying into it real good."

In addition to a strong coaching staff, McCray is also looking for a good football environment with great players and a great campus. Distance isn't a factor, and he is planning trips to the other side of the Southeast in July.

"I'm just going to try and take it easy right now, but I'm going to try and take a few more unofficial visits just to check out a few I haven't seen," he said. "Coach was talking about going to LSU and Auburn for a visit."

McCray's next trip to Gainesville could be for Friday Night Lights, but that's also the same weekend he plans on visiting LSU and Auburn, so he may not make it.

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