I would like to retract that thought.
Yes, Collins Okafor, Baker Steinkuhler, Sean Fisher, Trevor Robinson, Dan Hoch and a host of other names, sure made for one heck of a camp. But I was expecting them, so I was ready to track down these high quality players throughout the entire session.
Little did I know that the track meet I experienced during session one was a primer of sorts to get me ready for the even more frenetic pace I had to keep in order to keep up with the players in session two.
And there is no better illustration of frenetic than Caulton Ray.
Standing 5-9 and weighing 190 pounds, Ray is stocky to look at him, but that's not uncommon in the world of prep football. I have seen plenty of kids who look the part, only to see them go limp in impressing everyone once the real drills began.
This Michigan-based stud didn't waste time in making his presence known, and he didn't waste time while doing it either. How does a 4.34 and a 4.37 strike you as the two times he ran in the 40? Not enough? How about a 4.02 shuttle and a 33 inch vertical?
The jaw dropping raw performance he put up was almost enough in and of itself to sell me, but listed as a running back, and working as a running back today, I still wanted to know about his hands and if he was just a straight-line guy.
Through the seven-on-seven competition, he proved to be anything but a straight-line guy as he was literally impossible to cover, no matter who the opponent matched against him. And even when someone did manage to stay within five yards of him, if Ray had a good chance at a ball, he used that vertical and some surprisingly good hands to pull it into his possession.
Yeah, he missed on a few, but if it was realistic that he had a shot at a ball, he almost always brought it down.
First of all, I don't think I have ever even heard of that fast of a 40-time being ran at a Nebraska camp, and I know I certainly haven't seen it. Secondly, I wasn't sure if he could do anything which would make me forget his height, but I wasn't even thinking about it once I got to see him play.
What's better than even his inspiring performance was the young man himself. He had a sparkling personality, and he's just one of those kinds of kids that can't stand not to compete. "It's just the way I am, I guess," Ray said of his energetic personality and his intensity on the field. "I really enjoy the game and I like doing as good as I can when I am out there."
You might find this shocking to read, but someone going into his senior year, just coming off a season where he had over 1,500 yards rushing and approximately 500 yards receiving on just over 20 catches – his current list of offers is not what you would expect.
I would have automatically thought much of the Big Ten, and maybe some in the Big East. Nope, not quite. "I've got offers from Cincinnati , Bowling Green , Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Akron ," Ray said. "I get letters from everyone, but those are the only teams that have offered."
Based on his performance today, I am already convinced the kid is worthy of an offer from the big red. If that does bear fruit, I asked Ray where Nebraska would be on his list. "Oh, they'd be at the top of the list, no doubt about that. This is my first camp, so I haven't seen that many places, but this place isn't what I expected."
And can you guess what that is?
Caulton had to laugh as he tried to make sure that people of Nebraska didn't think he was being stereotypical, but yeah, he was…maybe a bit. "Well, yeah, I expected corn and the roads are paved around here, so that's a good thing," Caulton said jokingly. "No, seriously, it's nice. It's nothing like I thought it would be at all. The campus is great from what I have seen and the stadium looks great too."
There was a story done by Scout.com some time ago, where it had Ray almost signed, sealed and delivered to Miami . All the Canes had to do is offer and this Brother Rice High School standout would be on his way to South Beach when his high school career was done. Caulton said that simply wasn't the case, and even if they offered right now, he'd still approach recruiting the same. "I'm weighing all my options and honestly, Miami hasn't sent me anything lately," he said. "I don't have plans to visit there. I know what I have left, at least right now, is Michigan and Michigan State ."
If Miami isn't the favorite, stemming from the story done, you'd think that Michigan or Michigan State certainly would be, and most kids in Michigan are figured to be waiting for that offer from the Wolverines. That would another correction Caulton would make as he said that isn't true either. "I like Michigan State more than Michigan , if you want to know the truth," Ray said. "I've just liked them more than Michigan . But even if they offer, it's still not a guarantee that I would go to either one. It's going to be about what is best for me."
Ray couldn't say what that is right now, but said that if the Huskers offered, they would indeed be at the top of the list. But after his performance and some of his show-stopping moves just today, you have to assume that list is going to get pretty long. "That's what I am hoping for. That's the reason I am hitting these camps, so I can get a little more exposure," he said.
But don't think there is a dream school for Ray, because he said that there is no team which simply has to offer him in order for him to commit on the spot. He said that he's open and plans to stay that way for awhile. "I'm just checking things out and just trying to show what I can do," he said. "I like what I have seen so far around here and I have enjoyed the coaches. But I'm letting this thing play out a bit until I feel I've seen what I have needed to see. I am hoping to have a lot more choices in the future. The more choices, the more sure I know I will end up where I need to be."
Stay tuned for more on Ray as the summer session hits Day two tomorrow, and that is a full day, morning to evening, where these kids get to show their stuff. Oddly enough, and perhaps unbelievably, I am thinking this kid still has something to show.
Anyone have some popcorn?