COLUMBUS, Ohio — Max Wray’s commitment to Ohio State on April 15 came as a bit of a surprise to Buckeyes fans.
The 4-star offensive tackle from Franklin, Tenn., was committed to Georgia from March 2016 to March 2017 before reopening his recruitment. Ohio State issued a scholarship offer just days after he backed off his Georgia pledge, and he visited Columbus less than a month later.
The trip to Ohio State apparently went quite well, and the 6-foot-6, 289-pound offensive tackle announced his commitment to the Buckeyes the morning of the spring game. In an effort to learn what Wray will bring to the Buckeyes, Land of 10 caught up with Franklin High School coach Donnie Webb.
Q: Athletically speaking, what traits have allowed him to be so successful?
Webb: “He has great size and length and very good feet for a guy who’s about 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when you watch him play.”
Q: Has he always been really big for his age? When did he develop elite size?
Webb: “He’s put on weight the correct way and the good way. What I mean by that is when he was in eighth grade, he was very long and lean and he hit a growth spurt as a ninth grader. Essentially he went from playing middle school middle linebacker to coming to high school, where we put his hand in the dirt.”
Q: How has he developed from his freshman year to now?
Webb: “Obviously he has the genetics, and the good Lord gave him plenty of talent, especially with his quickness of feet. As he began to mature and get older, he started getting strength to go with his genetics. Some of that stuff you’re just born with. You can’t stretch someone, obviously. As he was growing into his body, his strength started coming along with it. I think that’s been the biggest thing to help take him to the next-level type of player.”
Q: Is there something you saw from him at one point that showed how good he can be?
Webb: “He’s very smart. We run the triple option here, and a lot of kids can’t put one foot in the ground, read a defender and then either block that defender or block the next-level defender. Our offensive coordinator at the time showed Max one time and said let’s try this and see if he can do it. It took one time for us to know he could do it. That was in practice, and then to be able to do it live obviously validated it.”
Q: When did his recruitment pick up, and what did coaches say they liked about him?
Webb: “It was probably halfway through his sophomore year [fall 2015] when it really started getting serious. The first thing they started asking about was his length. When he sticks his arms out … I’m not sure what his wingspan is measurement-wise, but it’s a pretty impressive length from fingertip to fingertip. That’s usually the first thing anyone notices. From there, his ability to block people and play the game.”
Q: How would you describe what type of player he is?
Webb: “I really do believe he’s a very polished, talented offensive lineman. He’s still a young kid, and when you go to the next level, you have to take it up a notch. The competition in practice is more than what you’ll get in a high school game, just by mere number of scholarship athletes on the field. That part of it, he still has to continue to work and improve his football game. But I think his body is prototypical for an offensive tackle at the next level. I really believe if he continues to work hard that the sky is the limit.”
Q: What’s his personality like?
Webb: “He’s a great kid. I’ve had the pleasure of having him as a student in class and obviously coaching him on the football field. He’s a great teammate and cares about the other kids around him. My favorite thing with him is that through all this hoopla [with recruiting], if I ever ask him to do something for Franklin he does it. That’s hard to find nowadays.”