CLEARWATER – The new look Tornadoes will be led by an experienced quarterback in Colin Wray next fall.
Wray, a 6’1″, 195-pounder started the last two seasons at Steinbrenner. The 2018 prospect combined for 3,062 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 57.8 completion percentage in 20 varsity games, beginning his sophomore year.
He called his junior campaign eye opening and humbling after the Warriors finished 5-4 and missed the postseason. Wray says he had been contemplating a move for a while.
“I knew I wasn’t in the offense that I needed to be in to thrive and I didn’t have the resources or people I needed to surround myself with to be successful,” Wray told Prep Sports Scouting. “No hard feelings at all towards anyone at Steinbrenner, I’m so thankful for all of the coaches over there who’ve helped me improve my game and who believed in me.
“Clearwater is a great program that I knew I would fit into as a pro-style quarterback. I knew they had some great coaches and athletes who would push me and make me better. So far it’s gone really well, I’ve gotten to know a bit of the offense and getting used to the new guys and I’m happy with where we are at as a team. I just know we need I keep pushing and getting better to get to where we want to be.”
Taking over for Austin Day, a 2017 graduate won’t be easy. Either will be replacing wide receiver Jacquez Jones, running back Adarius Lemons and defensive standouts Tramar Reece and Garet Chisolm, all seniors.
The Tornadoes went 10-2 this past season as it all ended in the Class 6A region semifinal against Charlotte. Luckily, rising seniors, running back Jarius Williams and wide receiver Brannan Demeter and rising junior safety Kenan Musgrove return as key pieces for Clearwater.
Demeter is someone Wray says took him under his wing.
“He [Demeter] has helped me learn the plays on the field and has also introduced me to some new people inside of the school,” he said.
Wray is confident in the talent the team has in place and says with the experienced coaching staff that his group is dangerous.
“I think with last season’s team going to the second round of the playoffs it makes the younger kids like myself believe that we can do the same and at the same time it makes us hungry to beat what they did,” he said. “So far I’ve fit in well, I think the guys are excited to have me there and I always try to be a mentor and lead by example by doing the right things and working hard in hopes that they will do the same. As we’ve been throwing more I’ve gotten to know my wide outs better and I’ve gotten more comfortable with the offense and with the guys.”
He had nothing but great things to say about his new coach, Don Mesick.
“Coach Mesick is a very smart guy first of all and an extremely hard worker which inspires me to work hard too,” Wray said. “He has a very high football IQ and knows the game very well. I’ve learned a lot so far and I’m excited to see what this season has in store.”
Wray started playing football at age 8 where he was an offensive lineman. He lined up there for four seasons before moving to linebacker and then fullback. Wray also played soccer growing up and baseball until sophomore year of high school.
However, it wasn’t until 8th grade where he began to play quarterback exclusively.
“I started to gain my confidence when I really got to understand the mechanics,” Wray said. “I applied them to my throwing sessions and started to see results. Also, my sophomore season when my team and I went 9-1 and made the playoffs my first year starting on varsity. I really gained a lot of confidence just in the last month or two with the support from my new coaches and teammates. I can’t thank them enough.”
For Wray, he has many role models. His mother serves as the top one while former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill are two guys he looks up to as competitors.
“She’s always pushing me to succeed in the classroom and be the best person I can be,” he said. “That’s really all that’s important.”
As for his best attributes, Wray pointed out his arm strength and quick release. He’s aiming to improve his speed and physical aspect of his game so he can escape the pocket and extend plays more frequently.
No offers have come yet for Wray, but he’s drawn interest from Harvard, Stetson, Jacksonville, Lehigh, Wofford and 13 other programs. He said that Harvard has shown the most interest in him as of late.
In terms of his ultimate goal with the game of football, this is what he had to say about that.
“My ultimate goal is to help me get a great education and to help others through the game of football,” Wray said. “Whether it’s going out into the community and giving back to those in need or just making family and friends proud.”
Leadership and confidence are two things that Wray is filled with. After seeing two different types of seasons at his previous stop, he comes to Clearwater well prepared for success. If he can build off the past, he can succeed with the Tornadoes and hence boost his college stock in the process.
Favorite players to watch – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
Playlist before games – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
Favorite movies – Step Brothers
Favorite TV shows – The Office
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I love music but I’ve never been to a concert.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “C.wray.”
Game film: Wray’s Hudl tape
Photo credit: Masut Photo