April 6, 2008

Second visit's the charm for McCray

Emmanuel McCray left Oxford eight days ago in love with Ole Miss and pretty sure that affection was mutual.

However, the Rebels hadn't yet offered a scholarship, so the Forest Hill High School star wasn't sure whether he had a future in red and blue.

There was a positive hint handed out by the Rebels that weekend, though. Ole Miss wanted McCray to return to Oxford Saturday.

"All in all, I was ready to come back up," McCray said. "The coaches were great. They asked me to come back. I don't want to say I expected an offer, but I was hoping for one."

On Saturday morning, McCray got his wife. Ole Miss offensive line coach Mike Markuson called the 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle into his office and told him how much he wanted McCray to be one of his future charges. He explained his vision for McCray in the Ole Miss offense and then led McCray into Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt's office.

"He told me how he wanted to meet my family," McCray said. "Then he offered me. He mainly talked about how he's going to run a lot and use a lot of play-action and that they were going to need athletic linemen.

McCray accepted on the spot.

"I had talked to my family about it already," McCray said. "Everybody's pretty excited about it. I'm still in shock."

McCray said he was struck by how he felt on both of his trips to Oxford and had already grown comfortable with his future coaches.

"They have a great environment," McCray said. "It's a nice family feeling. It's a family atmosphere. The coaches are enthusiastic and they're all about winning. There's nothing wrong with winning."

Speaking of winning, McCray said he expects to do plenty of that once he gets to Ole Miss. Further, he thinks the Rebels are close to breaking through in 2008.

"Everybody has a real positive attitude," McCray said. "They should do pretty good this year. They have a real good quarterback, a good running game. They've been good on defense for awhile. I think the offense is going to catch up."

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