Louisville outfielder Corey Ray is ready for the MLB Draft on Thursday; Ray is projected as one of the top five picks in the draft

University of Louisville junior outfielder Corey Ray is expected to be taken among the top picks in the MLB Draft on Thursday night. Ray said he's taking all the attention in stride, while preparing for the NCAA Super Regionals. But Ray said he's ready to see what team picks him.

The projections are all over the place for Thursday night's MLB Draft.

But one thing is clear for University of Louisville junior outfielder Corey Ray - he's likely to be picked in the first part of the first round when the draft starts at 7 o'clock on the Major League Baseball Network.

Ray, a five-tool outfielder and All-American from Chicago, is considered by most of those projections as one of the top five picks expected to be taken. Many feel like he could be the first college position player drafted.

"I'm sitting there just as clueless as you guys," Ray said in a media interview on Wednesday. "You just don't know how these things are going to do, which direction they will take and all of that, so I really don't know.

"I'm excited about it but I've learned to separate. When it's time to talk about the draft or it's time for the draft to happen then that's where I am. I'm just trying to be in the moment and be with everything that happens this time of the year."

Louisville will play UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at noon in the Super Regional. Ray said it's only fitting that he will watch the draft with "my brothers" - teammates - and his family at a watch party on Thursday night.

Ray said it doesn't matter who drafts him. He's positioned to be the first native of Chicago to be drafted in the top 10 since the 1989 draft, according to Baseball America.

"I just look at this as an opportunity to give back, while I'm playing the game I love," Ray said. "I'm just going out there, having fun and playing baseball. It's the game that I love to play."

A star on the field and humble off it, Ray was asked on Wednesday what he thought about something he could spend his money on when he signs his contract, which will be worth millions. He didn't hesitate on the answer:

"I think about the first camp I'll run in Chicago," he said with a smile. "That's a big goal of mine. To help those inner city kids."

U of L coach Dan McDonnell said Ray has met with every major league organization, while Ray said he doesn't have a clue where he'll end up. But one thing that's certain is he won't have to wait long to hear his name called.

ESPN's Keith Law calls him the "best all-around player" available in the draft.

"He's special," McDonnell said. "It's tough on these kids. But Corey has remained focused and he's done everything well."

Ray is hitting .319 with 15 home runs, 60 RBIs, 16 doubles and is 44 of 52 on stolen bases. For his career, Ray is hitting .322 with 27 home runs, 133 RBIs and 82 stolen bases.

Here's where Ray is listed in mock drafts:

Baseball America: No. 5 Milwaukee Brewers

Bleacher Report: No. 2 Cincinnati Reds

CBS Sports: No. 5 Milwaukee Brewers

Sporting News: No. 3 Atlanta Braves

ESPN.com: No. 5 Milwaukee Brewers

MLB.com: No. 5 Milwaukee Brewers

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