Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top 2008 Recruit Prepares to Enroll at ‘Bama

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 1:  Detail view of a football resting on the grass during the game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and teh USC Trojans on January 1, 2009 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  USC won 38-24.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
While he was having a less than mediocre career in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league organization, Melvin Ray…was thinking about Alabama.

Ray was a four-star wide receiver out of high school and signed with Alabama as a member of the 2008 class.

The Florida native could have obtained a starting pivotal role at wide receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Ray could have an SEC title ring, a national championship ring and possible individual recognition for his football accomplishments as a member of the Crimson Tide.

However, Melvin Ray has never played a single snap at Alabama…for Melvin Ray never attended Alabama.

After signing with the Crimson Tide in 2008, Ray decided to leave football behind and play professional baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Melvin Ray has spent the past three seasons in the Los Angeles minor league organization…scuffling at best.

During the course of 2008 and 2009, Ray’s batting average never exceeded .162, although he was batting a respectable .269 this season in the Arizona League.

However, words like “respectable,” and batting less than .162 over the course of two years, won’t get you called up to the “big show” anytime in the near future.

After three less than impressive seasons in minor league baseball, Melvin Ray wanted more…he wanted Alabama Crimson Tide football.

The 2008 Alabama signee has departed the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and has returned to his Tallahassee, Florida home.

The once highly touted recruit is currently taking the necessary steps which will allow him to join the University of Alabama football team for the 2011 season.

"My heart is still with (Alabama) because I signed with them," Ray said. "I wouldn't have made that commitment for no reason. I want to play. I want to play with Alabama no matter what.”

The decision to stay with the Tide has everything to do with loyalty to the University of Alabama, but also loyalty to Nick Saban.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17: Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his team during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Ray said coach Saban indicated in 2008 the door would always be open if he ever decided to return to football in the future.

For Melvin Ray…the future is now.

Ray, now 21, will need to enroll at a junior college before enrolling at Alabama, but plans to be in Tuscaloosa as a student by the spring of 2011.

The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to pay for Ray’s college education, as stated in the terms of his original contract. At the moment it’s unclear if NCAA rules would clear that as a viable course of action at this time.

However, Ray’s father, Melvin Ray Sr., viewed the issue of paying for Melvin’s college tuition...as a non-issue. "If we have to pay for it," Ray Sr. said, "he's going to Alabama. Once he was committed, nothing has changed there."

Due to the fact Ray never enrolled at Alabama or played football for the Crimson Tide, he would have four years of eligibility.

Melvin Ray will be a 22 year old freshman in the fall of 2011 when he “hopes” to make his debut for the Crimson Tide. His age and his “life experience” will certainly allow him to be a team leader…even as a freshman.

Ray said he doesn’t regret his choice to play professional baseball, but he is more than ready to attend college…and play football for the top team in the nation.

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