Max Wray wanted to be the first. He wanted to be the guy who serves as the ambassador for the Class of 2018 at UGA.
That’s right. An offensive tackle. Not some quarterback or another flashy skill player. It all starts in the trenches, right?
Wray became just that on Thursday night. The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder from Tennessee committed to UGA and became the first recruit in the 2018 class.
“The whole reason I wanted to commit first is I wanted to be that leader in the class,” Wray said. “I wanted to be the first to put my confidence out there in the program and about where it is going. I wanted to be that guy. I wanted to help Georgia recruit and that’s why I wanted to be the first.”
Wray chose UGA over his home state Volunteers. 247sports rates him as a four-star recruit and the nation’s No. 46 overall prospect for 2018. He wanted to go ahead and commit and “get it over with” because he didn’t want to lead any other schools on about where he wanted to play college ball.
He plans to be a true “committed” recruit. Wray told DawgNation on Thursday night he will take no other visits except to UGA.
“I am only going to Georgia,” he said. “Georgia is it. This is my final commit. I’m not de-committing. I am not going anywhere else but Georgia.”
He’ll wear No. 75 at Georgia and has already set his sights on five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence (Cartersville High School/ Cartersville, Ga.) for the Class of 2018. That’s his No. 1 target for the 2018 class. The second guy he has in mind to get in the red and black is Class of 2017 five-star athlete JaCoby Stevens.
Wray and Stevens live some 25 minutes away from one another in Tennessee and work out at the same training facility on the weekends.
What was the difference for UGA with Wray? He said it came down to offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and Sam Pittman. He said he would not have committed to UGA if those two coaches were on a different staff.
“Coach Pittman and coach Chaney and coach Smart are really leading the program in the right direction,” Wray said. “They run the offense that I want to play in. They are going to play me at tackle. That is a big thing. I really wanted to play tackle in college. I really feel like I have a really good chance to succeed there.”
Wray said everything just lined up for UGA. That’s on and off the field.
“On the academic side, they also have a really good school there in kinesiology and sports medicine,” said Wray, who cites a 5.2 time in the 40-yard dash. “Which is what I want to major in.”
Wray broke the news to the staff in phases. He called Chaney first. That’s because he recruits Wray’s area for UGA. Then he called Pittman and then Smart.
His future offensive line coach had the best reaction.
“He said that it made the next five years of his life,” Wray said. “He was like ‘This made my day’ and then he said ‘Naw, it made five days’ and then he said ‘No, it made five years’ with his reaction.”
Wray said he can dunk a basketball with two hands. That’s a testament to his athleticism. He said the decision between UGA and Tennessee was close in the beginning, but the more he looked at things on the academic side he saw that one school offered more benefits after he’s done playing.
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.