The University of Missouri has cultivated a bit of a reputation for churning out high-quality defensive-line talent over the years. From the Super Smith Bros in San Fransisco, to Kony Ealy in Carolina, to SHELDON Richardson in New York, Tigers are doing quite well for themselves in the trenches of the NFL.
This year's edition of the D-line looks to be as potent as it's ever been. Markus Golden broke onto the scene last year thanks to a whole lot of production in a (relatively) small amount of playing time. Also, performing ridiculous feats of athleticism like the one below helped a bit.
At this point, Golden is just about as close to a household name as he'll get before he declares for the NFL Draft. His partner in sack-hunting, Shane Ray, isn't, and that's a damn shame. Ray may not have been as prolific as Golden was last year, but he's outpacing his more widely-known counterpart so far this year and he doesn't look like he plans on slowing down any time soon. It is because of this, and because he deserves it so, that we bring to you this profile of Ray's journey.
A past shrouded in mystery
"Shane just sorta showed up one day." Kuligowski explained. "There we were, settling in, trying to stake a claim for ourselves, and he just rode up ready to work." Golden elaborated a bit.
"We brought him into the fold and he became a big part of the group right away. We could tell he was something special, he just needed the spotlight."
A big moment
Ray made several big plays during the 2013 season, but none outshone his finale. With the game hanging in the balance, Michael Sam stripped Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf of the ball, which bounced right into the open arms of one Shane Ray. He scooped, and 73 yards later, he scored.
In the process, he flashed some speed that will have opponents quaking and NFL scouts drooling over the next several months.
"He sure is a quick one." Kuligowski said. "Unlike anything I've seen. Nobody's gonna get the draw on him, you mark my words."
How right you are, Coach Kul. You see, Ray's always been fast. It's the reason for his mysterious background. The last person to see Shane before he became a Tiger was a small boy. A boy that cried out for his hero as he galloped off into the night. What's the reason for all the secrecy, you ask? Well, when this kind of stuff is in your rearview mirror, you don't usually look back.
Don't worry Shane, your secret's safe with us. We know that you'll be racking up the sacks for us all season long. We know we can count on you to be there for us when the going gets rough. When we're in SEC play and in need of a game-changing play, you'll be ready.
We love you Shane, even if you did beat our dad up that one time.