FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Max Wray knew on his first visit to Ohio State that he’d found his new home.
The Buckeyes planted that seed and then reaffirmed it by the way they conducted themselves during the recruiting process. Wray, a 4-star tackle from Franklin, Tenn., reopened his recruitment in March 2017 after originally committing to Georgia in March 2016. Ohio State offered him three days after he de-committed, and Wray said he was impressed with the way the Buckeyes made everything about their own program instead of other schools.
“Everyone but Ohio State and Alabama,” Wray told Land of 10 about the schools that used negative recruiting. “Everyone is scared of Nick Saban. Everyone. Everyone says, ‘Alabama does this, but we don’t because we’re better.’ It was Alabama this, Alabama that, and Ohio State was the only school that never said a word about Alabama or any other school.”
Here’s the rest of the Q&A with Wray in which he reflected on his recruiting process:
If you could give a junior only one piece of advice about the recruiting process, what would it be?
Wray: Don’t do what other people tell you to do. Just do what you and your family think is best. A lot of people have no idea what the situation is. They just like to talk because they think they know things, but they don’t. They just assume.
What school came in second behind Ohio State?
Wray: Probably Alabama, because of their pedigree and because they had a pretty good vision for me. They’re a good school and they’re really good at football and have a good offensive line. They were second for me. It was crazy how professional they were. I ran into a couple NFL scouts, and they were like, ‘If you want to go to the league, come here.’ It was crazy to see all that happen in one day.
What did you think about Nick Saban?
Wray: He’s not anything like what people think he is. He’s a really good dude. People think he’s super mean and super intense, but he was really cool. You see him on screen and he’s literally in people’s faces chewing them out. It looks like he’s a hateful person and then you meet him and he’s the nicest guy in the world. He’s a great guy.
What was the most creative thing a school did to get your attention?
Wray: Georgia, the first day they could send mail, they sent me like 50 letters. They wrote 1-50 reasons to be a Bulldog. Also, I’d get mail from schools I didn’t even talk to. I’d be like, I’ve literally never been in contact with you. I don’t know how you got my address, but thanks for the picture of your coach.
What’s the funniest thing any coach said during your recruitment?
Wray: Probably Coach O [LSU coach Ed Orgeron] when he FaceTimed me at dinner one time. I just look up at it’s Coach O FaceTiming me. He was so excited, and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
What was your biggest regret during the recruiting process?
Wray: I don’t really have any regrets. I don’t think I did anything wrong, really.
What coach was the hardest to say no to when you decided to commit to Ohio State?
Wray: I really liked Coach [Jeff] Grimes from LSU, and I really liked Coach [Mario] Cristobal at Oregon.
Did any coaches try to sway you or stay in contact with you after you committed to Ohio State?
Wray: Not really, because we were so serious about it and I told all the guys what was happening. The only one I kept in touch with was [former LSU general manager] Austin Thomas because he’s more of a friend than a coach. He wanted to be my first offer when he was at LSU but then Vanderbilt did it first. He was the first person who told me I was going to be good. I talk to him all the time.
Which school disappointed you the most during the recruiting process?
Wray: Tennessee. They offered like ninth. It was just disappointing because all my friends were going to Tennessee, and I really wanted to play there and it would have been cool. But they would tell people I was unathletic and wasn’t long enough or tall enough. But then when they offered me they told me they liked how athletic I was and I was thinking, ‘Dude, I know what you say about me.’
If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
Wray: I think it’s best if I don’t say anything on that one ( laughs).
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