As expected, Shane Ray announced this afternoon that he intends to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. He is projected to be taken in the first round, furthering Mizzou's growing draft lineage.
Ray showed potential as a redshirt freshman in 2012, logging 12.0 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and three hurries. Then he blossomed in two consecutive seasons. As a speed-rushing backup in 2013, he recorded 33.0 tackles, nine behind the line of scrimmage, and recorded 4.5 sacks and eight hurries. He became part of Mizzou lore, recovering a late fumble and returning it for a score to clinch the 2014 Cotton Bowl title.
In 2014, forced to become a leader after the departures of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, Ray helped Mizzou to not only match their production but exceed it. He became a consensus All-American, recording 22.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, five hurries, and three forced fumbles. Combined with senior Markus Golden on the other end, he was the leader of one of the most disruptive defensive lines in college football.
Originally listed as a high three-star recruit in the 2011 recruiting class, Ray became one of the best Missouri Tigers of a generation. We wish him luck.