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Shane Ray's Mizzou legacy is that of an intense competitor and homegrown success

Missouri loses an intense competitor, gains another #MizzouMade story to sell recruits.

Paul Halfacre

It was Shane Ray Day yesterday at the Mizzou athletic complex. Here are the highlights. There were quite a few of them.

MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou's Shane Ray Declares for the NFL Draft

Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski

Opening Statement...

"We're really happy for Shane and proud of him. Since he first got here, his competitive spirit has been outstanding. The word "can't" is not in his vocabulary. He's an extremely fun guy to coach because if you tell him he can't do something, he will find a way to do it, which is great. He's not stopped at getting better since he got here. Through the process this year, he's handled it with grace and been true to our team. He's developed from a guy that said `what I can do for me?' to a guy that says `how can I help this team?' He's one of the best leaders on our team in and out of the locker room not only with his play, but also his motivation to inspire our team to great heights. We're very proud of him. He certainly set a standard that can hardly be matched in any year following. It's easy to see from his great family why he is such a success and I just want to congratulate him on a great year and hopefully an unbelievably successful career."

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou's Shane Ray: "It's time to move on."
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Shane Ray declares for NFL Draft

Pinkel said he advises any underclassman that gets a first-round grade to go. He said the one that came closest to actually staying was Jeremy Maclin: "I had him up in my office and was talking with him. I said, ‘We found out you’re projected to be a first-round pick.’ I went through the whole thing about, ‘If you’re ready to go, I suggest you go.’ He was talking to his mom and dad back and forth a little bit and you could tell he was searching. And he finally looked up and me and said, ‘Coach, do you think I’m ready?’ Which I was kind of surprised. Here’s this great, great player, but he just wanted to get my opinion. He knew I was going to be honest with him. I said, ‘Yeah, I think you’re ready. you’ve got to want to do this. But do I think you’re ready to go do this? There’s no question about it.'"

The Missourian: Missouri football's Shane Ray declares for NFL draft
PowerMizzou: Inside Ray's decision
PowerMizzou: Ray's legacy on, off the field

"We're not going to have any more announcements at bowl games or anything else," Pinkel said, following Missouri's first bowl practice. "That's an individual deal. We're going to do a team deal."

While I don't doubt Pinkel's sincerity in making a draft declaration about the team, it also serves a tool in recruiting. Six years since Jeremy Maclin had an emotional press conference in which he declared for the draft, Missouri still uses that moment in recruiting -- especially with in-state athletes.

No surprises
The Trib: Brantley, other potential MU underclassman draftees, expected to stay