By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – McCall Ray threw 503 passes during his three-year varsity career as Bedford North Lawrence’s triple-option quarterback. Now he’ll have to learn how to catch them.
Ray, BNL’s All-State offensive catalyst, accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Indiana University on Saturday. He will switch from the backfield to a slot receiver position with the Hoosiers.
Ray met with IU coach Tom Allen and didn’t hesitate when asked to join the program.
“I’m ecstatic,” Ray said. “It’s a dream come true. I don’t know quite what to do. It’s hard to absorb all this.
“Ever since I was little, going to IU football games, seeing how many people are there and how many support you, I thought that would be something crazy to be able to do.”
Ray was recruited by Butler and the University of Indianapolis, but the chance to play in the Big Ten was overwhelming. At 6-foot-1, he is small by the new-age quarterback standards, but the perfect size to make the adjustment to receiver.
“He’ll pick up on stuff real quick,” BNL coach Steve Weber said. “As a quarterback, he knows how routes should look, he knows what to look for and understands coverages. He’ll know how to adjust his routes with what he sees. With his athletic ability, he’ll do a great job.”
Ray threw for 2,023 yards and 25 touchdowns as the Stars went 8-3 in 2018. Ray added 738 rushing yards and 13 TDs to solidly his standing as an all-around athlete.
HIs three-sport status at BNL (a starting guard in basketball, a right fielder in baseball as a junior) is also impressive.
“Here’s a guy that played at high level and did it by still being a kid, helping his school in more ways than one thing,” Weber said. “That’s pretty cool.
“The kids now see it’s possible, and it’s possible by being a three-sport athlete. You don’t have to focus on one thing to go play at a high level. This proves that.”
After his discussions with Allen and the coaching staff, Ray expects to get an equal shot at opportunities on the field.
“They talked about the fact nobody will know the difference between a walk-on and scholarship player,” Ray said. “When you walk on the field for practice, you’re not treated any different. You’re a football player now.
“I’m going to work on getting bigger, faster, stronger. There will be a lot of bigger guys, so I have to train my hardest. I thought I had potential. I worked hard my whole life just to get this spot.
“Did I expect it? No. Did I work for it? Yes.”