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March 7, 2010

Ray follows his heart to Missouri

Shane Ray grew up watching the Missouri Tigers. His father, Wendell, played for the Tigers some 30 years ago. And because of that, the younger Ray always followed the program. On Saturday, Ray decided to follow his father's footsteps and committed to the Tigers.

"I grew up watching Missouri and I always wanted to be a Tiger," Ray said. "It was a real easy decision for me. Being from Kansas City, if I go out and play somewhere far away, I'd just be that kid from Kansas City. Here, I'm someone that everyone knows. I have a big support system and they will all have a chance to see me play."

That support system was a big part of Ray's decision. Yes, it is a big deal to play at his father's alma mater. But the Ray household was split. His mother is a Kansas grad.

"They're both ecstatic," Ray said.

Checking in at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Ray is a defensive end at Bishop Miege, one of Kansas' top programs. He said that's where he expects to play at Missouri as well.

"What I hear a lot is my speed and my motor set me apart from most players," he said. "Some guys play real hard and then take a break. According to the coaching staff, I play hard every down. I need to work a little more on my technique and get the feel for Mizzou's defense. I'm just ready to get on the field to be honest."

Now, Ray knows where that will be. He had visited KU earlier in the week, but knew where his heart was. With his name on the Tiger commitment list, there isn't likely to be any wavering for this black and gold legacy.

"Me and my mom look at it like this," Ray explained. "Once you find someplace you love and where you always wanted to play, no matter what other offers you get, no matter how big the schools are, you're never going to feel the same way that you felt about the first one. And that's how I feel about Missouri."

Ray is the Tigers' fifth known commitment in the Class of 2011.

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