ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Missouri freshman DE Shane Ray 6'3" 230, following one of the Tigers' early bowl practices. He talked about his first season at Missouri, much of which he spent working on the scout team, and he talked about getting back out onto the practice field.
"This season has been a tough season with the whole red-shirt thing," said Ray. "But honestly, I feel like I've grown a lot as a player from it. I go against guys like Dan Hoch and Justin Britt every day, and I give them my best. It makes them better. It makes me better. And, I'm just really enjoying it right now. I'm really excited to have these bowl practices and getting ready for spring ball, to earn my spot and everything. It's a good time."
Ray has really improved himself physically since fall camp, and has also worked on improving his technique. Ray looks extremely physically fit, with a chiseled physique, and he's definitely much quicker and more explosive than what I saw in fall camp. He's gained 6 pounds since his arrival last June, while reducing his body fat by 2%.
"Our strength and conditioning staff is just amazing! They made sure that I worked hard every single day," explained Ray. "I never got a day off. I was always in the weight room doing extra work. It pays off. Now that we're going into our off-season, we're going to start really trying to put the weight on me, and get a lot bigger in size. I feel great! And, I feel so much better and stronger."
Ray said that his target weight is around 255 pounds or so.
"You can't play defensive end in the SEC at 230 pounds," laughed Ray, when I asked him about his target weight.
Ray sees himself in the future as a player similar to senior DE Jacquies Smith. He said that he considers rushing the passer his forte, but that he can drop back into coverage or do whatever is asked of him.
"I definitely need to get bigger," said Ray.
Ray has really improved his pass-rushing technique.
"I definitely got better with my hands," explained Ray. "Working with Dan Hoch, the big guys like that, it's hard to get around them without doing something………………………………. Definitely technique is something that I'm going to continue to work on every day."
Ray will begin spring ball listed on the third team defense. He talked about his goals for spring ball.
"My goal for spring ball is just to prove that I'm the best," said Ray. "Spring ball is the time when everyone gets their opportunity to shine, and just show what they're made of. I think this whole year of not (playing) has made me so much more hungry for success, and to earn playing time. This spring, I plan on giving everything I've got, and just playing, balling out."