Sunshine State WR high on Gamecocks

The Gamecocks are looking to sign three or four wide receivers in the 2009 recruiting class, and East Gadsden prospect Lance Ray is one of USC's top targets at the position. The versatile athlete has picked up five offers this summer, raising his total to 14. Read inside to see where the Gamecocks stand with the Sunshine State standout.

The 6'2", 200-pound Ray has offers from South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, Marshall, Ole Miss and Mississippi State among others.

Ray has had a busy summer so far camping at Florida and USF. The two-way star said he believes he performed well at both camps. Ray turned in a 4.51-second forty-yard dash in Gainesville, but his best is a 4.41-forty he ran in April.

While Ray had a good time at both Florida and USF, he said that two other schools really stand out to him right now - South Carolina and Arkansas.

South Carolina cornerbacks coach Shane Beamer is recruiting Ray for the Gamecocks, and the talented prospect says the Gamecocks are recruiting him harder than anyone.

"It's probably a bigger relationship with him than with any other coach," Ray says. "I just don't only hear from him, I want to know the entire staff. It's just the whole staff so I know I'm wanted there all around, not just from one coach. But really I'm just anxious to get up there and see the place. Because I could call a lot of other schools around here like Florida and LSU my top choices because I've been twice and they're a little closer. But South Carolina I haven't been there to see it myself, (and) that's something I'm anxious to do."

Ray hopes to visit the Gamecocks for their July 18 camp, but does not know if it will fit his schedule. He explained what he does like about the South Carolina program so far.

"Basically their program, just where they are and where they're headed. It's kind of hard to say, I just really have a good feel for South Carolina."

Arkansas is the other school that stands out to Ray, and outside of the distance from home, he had positive things to say about the Razorbacks as well.

"It's a good ways out there. It will be hard for Arkansas to be one of my top choices being so far, but the feelings I have for South Carolina and Arkansas are about the same. Both of them are distant schools, but I'm talking to their entire staff, and I'm just anxious to get there and see for myself."

While the distance to the two schools may keep Ray from naming them his official top two at this time, Ray did have some encouraging words for South Carolina and Arkansas fans.

"I can't say they're my top two, they both really stand out, though. Those two schools will be hard to say no to."

The Havana, Fla. standout admittedly grew up a Florida State fan, but hasn't been happy with the way the Seminoles have handled his recruitment.

"They sent me an invitation to go to (their) camp. I'm not really as interested as I was at one point," Ray said. "A lot of schools from far away, they've came and seen me practice and offered me. They see my potential."

"Florida State coaches came and saw me when I ran the 4.41; they saw my 34-inch vertical jump. They've seen me at practice. They've seen me in games. They've seen my film, and so far I haven't gotten an offer so I'm guessing I'm not what they're looking for. I really don't see a reason to go to the same camp this year I went to last year. So, I feel like I gave it all I've got. It really wasn't a big deal, though."

Ray has been to Florida, USF, FSU, LSU, Georgia Tech and Central Florida so far and says he plans a return trip to LSU as well as trips to Auburn and Alabama to go along with his South Carolina and Arkansas trips this summer. He says he will then take all of his official visits and make a decision.

Ray described what he will be looking for in the school he eventually chooses.

"I just want all the academics to be taken care of," Ray says. "I'm not sure what I'm majoring in yet, but I plan on knowing by the time school starts... I want to go to a school that is on top of whatever I'm majoring in and has everything academically taken care of because I don't want to get on the field and struggle in the classroom and it affect my play. Second most important is the people I'm going to be around, the strength and conditioning coach, the staff, the players, the atmosphere, the people that I see day-to-day. That's going to keep me going so that's going to be important. Third I want a team that gets a lot of exposure."

Ray, who has played everything from offensive tackle and the defensive line to safety and wide receiver, explained what type of player he is on the gridiron.

"The biggest thing that stands out to me about myself as a player is I'm a full speed-type player," Ray says. "I could not play on a team's offense or defense that runs at a slow pace, because I go to sleep on stuff like that. I'm a pumped up, lot of energy, full speed-type person. And then one thing I've learned is to be patient, too. Playing safety I've learned to be patient."

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