|Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison linebacker Mike McCray|
McCray is a 6'4", 230-pounder who claims a 4.61 forty. As a junior in 2011, he made 132 tackles, 5 interceptions (3 of which he returned for touchdowns), 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. As a sophomore he made 65 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles.
ESPN: 4-star LB
Rivals: 4-star LB, #44 overall
247 Sports: 4-star ATH, 92 grade, #10 ATH, #168 overall
McCray's father, as you all probably know by now, played linebacker at Ohio State in the 1980s. Ohio State has yet to offer the Buckeye legacy, which is reportedly a thorn in the McCrays' side and perhaps a reason why Mike the Younger has decided to choose the Wolverines. It might not be wise to close the door on Ohio State making a run at him, but at this point, he seems solidly committed to Michigan and convinced that Ann Arbor is the place for him to be. There were rumblings recently that Tennessee was his leader, but he canceled a scheduled trip to Rocky Top and instead visited the Michigan campus, where he pledged to the coaching staff.
McCray is a very good athlete with excellent straight line speed for a guy his size. As a receiver and interceptor, he shows soft hands, makes good breaks on thrown footballs, and is hard to catch in the open field. However, I tend to disagree with a lot of the scuttlebutt out there that he's destined for the MIKE linebacker. He does say that he's being recruited as an inside linebacker, but he doesn't have the requisite skill set for the position, in my opinion. He needs to play downhill more and read run plays quicker. There are times when he takes poor angles in run pursuit, and he's also not as aggressive of a hitter as I would expect from a kid his size. I don't think his highlight clips are that impressive for a linebacker who's supposedly the 44th-best player in the country (to Rivals), aside from the interception returns. Defensive touchdowns are great, but a middle linebacker needs to make his biggest impact as a run stopper.
I also don't think he should play defensive end. Do you really want to take a guy who had eight interceptions in his sophomore and junior seasons (at least three of which were returned for touchdowns?) and make him a defensive end, where he'll only drop into coverage on a rare zone blitz? That doesn't make much sense, either.
The way I see it, McCray looks like a future SAM linebacker. He could still be used in coverage at times, and since he's not the most instinctive run stopper, rushing him off the edge would force him to play downhill and take some of that indecision out of the process. I see some similarities at this point between McCray and outgoing senior J.B. Fitzgerald.
For people who didn't like my Logan Tuley-Tillman scouting report, stop reading here. There is a monster at the end of this book.
I don't see McCray as a truly instinctive linebacker, at least not to the same level as James Ross and Joe Bolden. He doesn't seem to be a real "finisher" when it comes to tackling. He leaps at a bunch of guys and drags them to the ground with his weight, rather than wrapping up and driving his feet; on the numerous highlights I've seen, I think I've seen one impressive tackle. There are times where he almost gets a guy to the ground and needs somebody else to come and clean up. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't like it when dudes jog into the end zone, and he does it multiple times. This is a kid with all kinds of athletic potential but he's not college ready from the perspective of technique and football maturity.
Cue the nasty e-mails.
Trotwood-Madison High School is the alma mater of current Wolverines Roy Roundtree and Brandon Moore. McCray, commitment #14 for Michigan in 2013, is also teammates with former Michigan target Cam Burrows, a cornerback who is committed to Ohio State.
TTB Rating: 74