Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #58 Mike McCray II

Mike McCray II
Name: Mike McCray II
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 225 lbs.
High school: Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison
Position: Linebacker
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #9
Last year: McCray was a senior in high school. I gave him a TTB Rating of 74.

McCray committed to Michigan in March 2012 and stuck by the Wolverines even when Ohio State eventually came calling with an offer. He was invited to The Opening last summer and also selected to the Under Armour All-America Game, but he didn't particularly stand out at either event. In between the two, he had a solid but unspectacular season that pretty much confirmed what the prognosticators had seen earlier.

One large determining factor for McCray's future might be his height. At the Rivals 5-star Challenge last summer, he measured in at 6'1" despite being listed in other places at 6'4". My 6'2" up there is just a guesstimate, as he's likely somewhere in between. If he's taller than that, he might fit best at SAM linebacker. If he's 6'2" or shorter, he will probably end up at MIKE in the long-term. After starter Jake Ryan's ACL injury in the spring, McCray was mentioned as a possible backup, along with Cam Gordon and Mark Lawson; however, it was shortly revealed that Brennen Beyer was moving from weakside end to SAM to shore up the position, so that potentially shoves McCray farther down the depth chart. I would like to see McCray redshirt, but for some reason, I think the coaches are going to burn it to prepare him for the stretch run or for next year.

Prediction: Backup SAM linebacker, special teams coverage


  1. I think I'm done speculating on which linebacker recruits are heading to which linebacker spots until we get a few years down the line.

    McCray isn't likely to grow into a defensive end like Furbush or Ferns (did you see the pic with Ferns, Hand, and Bunting? Ferns is looking hefty), but it seems the coaches like to play every linebacker at every spot to start and see who picks up which position.

    1. Wise move. Most positions are very fluid early on.

  2. Seeing how the LB group shakes out will be interesting. Agreed that McCray probably plays this year as a back-up MLB, especially if he is decent. If McCray establishes himself in camp like Morgan did as a freshman, I could see the coaches experimenting with Bolden at SAM in cream puff games - just believe Bolden would be more comfortable there, where he'd have fewer reads and can turn it loose.

    McCray seems like a gamer, who looks good on film but maybe does not have the physical traits that wow observers in camps. Don't see him as a future star, but he has the makings of a solid MLB, which is good enough.

  3. We're talking about a true freshman that may or may not red-shirt, but if he doesn't he's going to be a special-teamer at best. Not too many players are more easily replaced if they get hurt or whatever. Seems about 15-20 spots too high to me.

    1. In fairness to myself, I ranked McCray before it was announced that Gant would move from SS to SAM. If I were re-doing the rankings today, I would move McCray down...but it was too late.

    2. Ah - that makes sense. But, like I've been harping on lately, it's better if you view the positions as flexible. I know you don't necessarily agree with this, but I think in most cases they'll move a guy from WDE, SS, or ILB before throwing a freshman SAM out there, unless he can really play. Of course we don't know for sure, but if you assume McCray isn't really ready for the big stage, it's reasonable to consider SOMEONE at another position sliding in there. It turned out to be Gant, but we'll see how he pans out. I suspect that if Gordon or Beyer are hurt you'll see someone else fill in at SAM (Ojemudia? RJS? Bolden? who knows...)

    3. I think if an injury occurred, Bolden could potentially move over to SAM. But in the meantime, you have to groom someone for the position. With both Gordon and Ryan being upperclassmen and Beyer likely moving back to weakside end ASAP, they probably want to get someone ready for that spot.