Vinopal's Stock on the Rise (Part 1)

Youngstown (OH) Cardinal Mooney safety Ray Vinopal has flown under the radar for the majority of his senior campaign, but an impressive season captured in part on his senior highlight tape has changed all of that. The Michigan Wolverines were first to take the plunge last week by offering a scholarship, and other major programs are in hot pursuit.

Sam Webb:  Tell me how your season is going.

Ray Vinopal:  "We're in week 13, third round of the playoffs.  We're 12-0 right now and we've been playing well.  I've been playing.  The whole team has been playing well. I think I have like 500 some rushing yards, return yards I think 200 or 300 punt return yards.  I have five interceptions and I don't know how many tackles.  I've got a lot a tackles, not sure how many.  I know I've got six or seven games of 10+ (tackles)."

Sam Webb:  Like you said, you've been playing really, really well.  Before you got your Michigan offer what were the other schools that had offered you scholarships?

Ray Vinopal:  "I have offers from Bowling Green, Air Force, Kent State, but really the big schools have really been recruiting me the hardest.  Those MAC schools, I haven't even really been recruited by them, they just sent me offers.  The big schools are the ones that have been in contact with me the most.  Notre Dame came to see me play on Friday.  They said they had a real shake up at safety, the guy first in line for the job, they are going to be in touch with me this week, so hopefully everything will work out."

Sam Webb:  So aside from Notre Dame and Michigan what were the other big schools?

Ray Vinopal:  "Boston College, Pitt, Michigan State and Kansas."

Sam Webb:  What are Boston College, Pitt and Michigan State saying to you; do they want to see your senior film; do they want to get out and watch you play?  What are those three schools saying?

Ray Vinopal:  "They actually know that I have senior film at Michigan, as I sent Michigan the film first.  So they all actually haven't seen that film yet.  I have to send it out to them.  Actually a couple of them called me for it.  I know Notre Dame wants it right away.  I was supposed to give it to the coach personally, but I forgot to bring it to the game.  I have to send it out to them and they said everything should probably work out."

Sam Webb:  Was there any particular reason why you sent it to Michigan first or is that just coincidence?

Ray Vinopal:  "I had called the coach, left a voice mail – Coach Gibson, to let him know that I was interested if they had any interest in me and to check out my highlight from the first five games of the season.  It was up on my profile at ScoutingOhio.  He checked it out, and he said they loved it, and we were really interested in me, and I spoke to Coach Rodriguez on the phone and I talked to him for a little bit.  He said that they want to get me on campus to check things out.  I told him that I can get him some more film.  He said the second bunch of film just reassured what they saw on the first and they offered me a couple of days later."

Sam Webb:  When did that offer come through and what was your reaction; were you surprised?  How did you react to it?

Ray Vinopal:  "It came through last Wednesday.  I don't want to say I was surprised because a lot of these big schools have been really, really close lately.  It's almost like they are…I don't know how to put it but all of them have been talking like an offer is coming very soon.  I was kind of more relieved.  I was real excited about it.  It's a great opportunity.  I was real excited and I talked to Coach Rodriguez for about 10 minutes after he offered me and I'm going to be on campus this weekend to check things out for the Ohio State game."

Sam Webb:  What does your process look like at this point?  Are you playing it by ear; do you want to wait and see what other schools offer or could you see something in Michigan this weekend that makes you say, hey I want to go to Michigan?

Ray Vinopal:  "Well Michigan is definitely going to be on top of the list – just tradition, big time football.  I'm waiting it out a little bit to see what ND has to say.  They are supposed to get in touch with me this week.  So if they end up pulling the trigger pretty quick here, I'm just going to take an official there and official to Michigan and whoever else follows suit would probably be my top three.  Take officials to all of them and decide which one I felt best when I was there.  Which one I felt I was at home."

Sam Webb:   The visit to Michigan this weekend is that an official or that going to be an unofficial?

Ray Vinopal:  "That's an unofficial.  I'm taking my officials in December probably."

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