Melvin Ray's Tough Decision

Melvin Ray, four-star receiver from Tallahassee-North Florida Christian, (Fla.), made a surprise visit to Tuscaloosa to attend Alabama's camp. He talks about his experience on campus including a stay in the hosptial. Ray also shared of his visit to Gainesville and the camp in Tallahassee. has a very in-depth interview with one of the nation's best...

"I have been promising coach [Kirby] Smart I would come up to Alabama, and I went up there for the last two days of camp," Melvin Ray said. "The visit went great. The only bad thing was I had to go to the hospital because I got dehydrated."

"I came straight to Alabama for the Florida State camp, the Friday Night Lights camp and working out. I went through the first two sessions on Tuesday. That night we were playing in a bunch of games, and that's when it happened."

"I thought I did real well. I shined like I should have. I was just very exhausted and tried to work through it. I knew it wasn't good when I could not feel my hands. I still had a good time even when I was in the hospital."

"Coach Smart is from south Georgia, and we have always had that connection."

"I spoke to coach [Nick] Saban before I left. I had a long talk in his office before I left about everything. We talked about the facilities. We talked about how I felt about playing both football and baseball in college. We had a really good talk with each other. He was straight-forward, and I liked that a lot."

"I learned a lot about the history of Alabama last year. I got a chance to learn a lot more this week. I went to the Bear Bryant Museum a few times. You can't get enough of that. It was really nice. Alabama has a lot of tradition. The fans love their football. It's great. You can't get enough of Alabama."

"I came back not because I promised coach Smart, but because you want to go again, and again. No matter when you go it is always great to see that place."

"Alabama is definitely up there on my list right now. Once I began learning about other schools I began to get more interested. A lot of people call me and just talk about Florida State, Florida and LSU. They won't ask me about Alabama or Georgia who were in my top five as well."

"After going to Alabama's camp it really helped out a lot. I learned a lot more about Alabama than just the history of the program. I learned that the coaches really care about you as a person. They support you in everything you do. It definitely helped Alabama."

Ray knows a decision is forthcoming as he talked with his father, Melvin Ray, Sr., during the ride home from Tuscaloosa. He knows what he is looking for in a school and is feeling the pressure to stay in Tallahassee.

"I know it's going to be pretty soon," Ray said of his decision. "My dad told me we were going to have a long talk about my decision when I got home. I talked to him for a while today about it. We are going to start to narrow it down and make a decision soon. Actually it's going to be pretty soon."

"We have talked about what we are going to do. I plan to call the coaches and tell them, then have an announcement. I know I have a lot of support wherever I go, and I know for a fact I am going to announce it locally."

"It's going to come down to a couple of things. The way I fit in with the program and definitely the relationship with the coaches. I like to get along with every coach I can, but mainly the position and the head coach."

"I am going to go wherever I feel at home--where I can be happy for four years and graduate. I want to be around great players. Wherever I go I like to win. Winning is something every athlete wants to do. I want to go somewhere I can surround myself with a great recruiting class to play with for the next four to five years."

"I feel pressure to go to Florida State all the time. The FSU fans tell me they want me to play here, but support me wherever I go. They always say, we want to see you play here for the 'Noles."

"A few guys like [Antonio] Cromartie, Ernie Sims, Marcus Sims and Myron Rolle and Ochuko [Jenije] talk to me. You feel pressure all the time. If you're a top name in this area you're going to feel pressure. One of the few guys, like Myron, he tells me to go wherever I feel at home. It's all about you. There is nobody else. You don't want to be selfish, but it is my decision."

The four-star prospect was in Tallahassee Saturday camping with the Seminoles with a chance to see the greatest receiver of all time teach the future greats of the game.

"No disrespect to anyone else, but I was focused on Jerry Rice the whole time. Julio [Jones] and I talked about him the whole time. How many times will you get to see Jerry Rice," Ray said.

"We tried to imitate everything he did. That is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. He is not just the best at his position, but stayed healthy and competed at a late age.. He is so smooth. That is what I liked most. I enjoyed everyone else, but I was soaking in the moment."

Ray talked about his relationship with the nation's top receiver from Alabama.

"Julio and I have met before," he said. "It was more of a here-and-there kind of thing. He is a guy who is good at what he does. He is trying to compete for a spot. Alabama and Florida State are two of his top schools. We talk about that. I wasn't there the first day at Alabama when he was there. He is very well interested in those two schools. He is a cool dude. He doesn't talk much. He just goes out there and plays football."

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound playmaker talked of spending time in Gainesville for Friday Night Lights as well.

"There was a lot of competition. It was more of a competition camp. It was not like Alabama or FSU. You ran your 40-time, and after that it was time to go. Wide receivers and defensive backs went against each other the whole time. It was the most talented group of cornerbacks I went up against. It was very fun," he said.

Ray has a good relationship with the Gator coaching staff and is interested in the defending national champions.

"My relationship with the coaches is good," he said. "I have more of a relationship with coach [Urban] Meyer and coach [Billy] Gonzales. I make sure I have a good relationship with the head coach and position coach at all the schools, but I have a real good relationship with them."

"They use their receivers. They spread it out. It's harder for you to see double coverage. They use them in a lot of other ways. They have a very unique style. It's fun when you have a chance to watch. That's what I like about Florida."

Ray has also formed a bond with Georgia's coaching staff.

"Mark Richt is a really great guy," he said. "As far as coaching wise he is a fun guy. He came down and visited me in the spring. We have had really good talks. We run our mouths forever. Coach [Mike] Bobo and I talk the most. Coach Bobo is a really fun guy as well."

"I just really like coach Richt. We can talk forever. He tells you exactly how it is. He doesn't try to sugar coat anything. He is much like Coach Saban. He is always going to be sincere. A lot of guys tell you what you want to hear. He tells you like it is."

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