May 18, 2009

Tide offers Rivals100 DE

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has shown a preference for versatility when it comes to recruiting pass rushers and Lynchburg (VA) defensive end Zack McCray certainly fits the bill.

The 6-foot-5, 236-pound McCray has been a starter on both offense and defense in his career at Brookville High School and his versatility and athleticism has landed him a long list of offers that includes LSU, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Nebraska. Now Alabama has added its name to that list.

"It was a pretty big deal for me to get that Alabama offer," McCray said. "I mean, it's Alabama. They are a powerhouse in college football, they play in the SEC, and also I was born in Alabama and even though I didn't live there very long, I feel like there's sort of a special connection there."

"I'm not sure about the camp this summer yet but I'm definitely going to be making a visit to the campus in the next month or so. I'd like to go see LSU's campus as well so I'll probably make one big trip of it."

McCray, who is ranked by as the No. 9 weakside defensive end prospect in the nation, had a chance to speak to Saban on the phone before receiving his offer and was struck by Saban's emphasis on off the field attributes.

"Talking to Coach Saban was a real privilege. He's a really nice guy and he probably spent most of the call talking about what they are looking for in a player when it comes to education, character and basically everything outside of football. That's a major priority for Alabama."

While McCray currently stars at defensive end, it's unclear where he'll line up in college and the answer may depend on which school he chooses.

"I really haven't settled on what I'm going to play in college. I've had some people talk to me about playing tight end. It will probably end up being defensive end or outside linebacker for me but that's something I'll discuss with each individual school when I start making visits."

As for his timetable, McCray said that while he would ideally like to have his decision out of the way before the end of the summer, he is now considering taking all his visits before making a final decision.

"I think it's too early for me to start naming favorites but I'm taking in all the information I've got right now and by the end of the month I will probably be able to start narrowing things down."

"I had originally hoped to have everything done before the start of my senior year but as things have gone along I'm not so sure that's going to happen anymore. I'd really like to make sure I know as much as possible before I make my decision so whenever I feel like I'm ready to make an informed decision, I'll announce it."

As a junior, McCray picked up 81 tackles, including 20 sacks, as well as two fumble recoveries and an interception.

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