USC In The Hunt For Top Florida LB

Dunnellon (FL) 4-star linebacker Lerentee McCray is one of the most coveted prospects in the Sunshine State this recruiting year, as he possesses the rare combination of size, speed and playmaking ability that every college coach looks for in a linebacker. Where do the Gamecocks stand with this top defensive target? Read inside to find out.

With an offer sheet that reads like a who‘s who list of major college football programs, the 6'2", 200 pound McCray has a tough decision ahead. He holds offers from the likes of Florida, Florida State, Miami, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Clemson, West Virginia and others, but one school that has quietly remained a factor with McCray over the past several months is South Carolina.

"South Carolina is recruiting me pretty hard. They're a good program, and I think they're going to make a lot of things happen over there. Coach Spurrier told me himself that he's not going to stop until he gets an SEC Championship," said McCray. "I visited them for their junior day, and I had a good time on campus. I got to meet with all the coaches and everything and go on campus and check everything out. "

According to McCray, he has also enjoyed getting to know his Gamecock recruiter, Coach Steve Spurrier Jr.

"Coach Spurrier Jr. is a pretty nice guy. He told me that he thinks highly of me, and I think highly of him too. He's the son of Coach Spurrier, who is a legendary coach, so he kind of takes some of his features."

When asked if any schools on his list stood out above the rest, McCray, who had previously named a top five, said that he is taking a step back and giving every school a chance.

"I've got offers from over twenty schools. I like pretty much all of the big schools right now, but I don‘t have a top five or anything like that now."

With so many top programs pursuing McCray‘s services, he said that he will look for a few key factors to differentiate between the different schools and ultimately make his decision when he feels the time is right.

"The coaches are a big factor for me, the environment, and pretty much everything that has to do with the school and how the University runs. I haven't really set a timeframe. I'm pretty much just going to make my decision based on my heart. I did see myself waiting until signing day, but now I don't think I'm going to be able to wait until signing day."

McCray, who was timed earlier this week running a blistering 4.39 second forty yard dash, described what strengths he brings to the football field.

"When I'm on the football field, I play with passion. I'm aggressive. I'm physical. I like to run, and I'm athletic. I think my speed adds just another dimension to my game. At linebacker, I think I'm good at filling the gaps. I'm good at taking on blocks and getting off blocks. I can take on backs out of the backfield and guard tight ends."

The athletic linebacker helped lead his team to a 7-3 record last year, but they fell just short of making the playoffs. According to McCray, he would like to put up good individual numbers in his senior season this fall, but his ultimate goal is to carry his team to their first playoff appearance of his high school career.

"For my senior season, I'm trying to average one and a half touchdowns per game. I also want to get 150 tackles, but I don't really care about stats as long as my team is doing good. We're trying to get to the playoffs this year, because if we make it this year, that'll be the first time we've made it to the playoffs since 2003."

McCray, who bench presses nearly 300 pounds, racked up 97 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior last season. He carries a 2.9 GPA and scored a 16 on his first ACT attempt.

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