#56 | 6'3, 245, So. | Kansas City, MO
2012: 12 games, 12.0 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 FR, 3 QB hurries
Bill C.: When Shane Ray made a play last year, it wasn't an accident. An undersized 235 or so last year, Ray was not big enough to be an every-down presence, but some of his best plays last year were against the run: stuffing Georgia running back Todd Gurley for a three-yard loss early, bringing down Florida's Mike Gillislee for a loss of one late in the first quarter, and merging with Sheldon Richardson to bring down Tennessee's Raijon Neal in the backfield late in the first quarter. But he didn't make many other plays, and while he's put on a few more pounds, consistency is the biggest issue for Ray moving forward. But of course it is; he's a sophomore.
Really, Shane Ray's biggest job in 2013 is to get ready for 2014. He's likely the No. 1 backup this year, but with Michael Sam gone and Kony Ealy potentially leaving with a good draft evaluation, No. 1 backup becomes No. 1 starter next fall. One could see him becoming valuable in a speed-rushing role (or speed-run defending, I guess), as his father Wendell did a few decades ago for Mizzou; but what we'll be looking for from the younger Ray this fall is simple consistency, the ability to spell either Ealy or Sam without much of a dropoff in production, the ability to stand up to run blocking and do more than log an occasional QB hurry on passing downs. He's got speed and a motor; now he needs to become a true defensive end.
The Beef: Good blood lines with this young man, he is going to need to make the next step and become someone upon which the Tigers can count this year. In the end, the Defensive End unit is probably the one which gives me the most pause, so after Sam and Ealy, we need at least another 1-2 people to step up and prove their worth. No reason Ray cant be one of those people.
MizzouRugby: A very good RSFr outing last year, hopefully he can push Ealy and Ray for some playing time. Wouldn’t mind if Ray took over the role of Culver on special teams.
countrycal: Shane plays with a lot of fire and sports a True Son pedigree. Look for him to use this year to stake out a lot of expectations for his junior and senior seasons. He should get his share or more of playing time this year – plan on seeing him in the opponents’ backfield from time to time.