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Ray Ray Finds A New Home

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By BJ Bennett
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Former Clemson running back Ray Ray McElrathbey sits down in an exclusive interview with Senior Editor B.J. Bennett to announce his future college plans.

By B.J. Bennett Senior Editor

Former Clemson running back Ray Ray McElrathbey sits down in an exclusive interview with Senior Editor B.J. Bennett to announce his future college plans.


Meet Ray Ray McElrathbey. No, not the reserve running back for the Clemson Tigers and the inspiring feel good story. The new face of the Howard University football program.

You remember Ray Ray. The Clemson football player who was granted custody of his younger brother Fahmarr. The two best friends became roommates. Then they became inseparable. When you saw Ray Ray, you saw Fahmarr. The younger McElrathbey became a regular on the Tiger practice fields. Fahmarr even had a defensive formation named after him. Ray Ray once joked about him being an unofficial team mascot.

Functioning on big brother’s scholarship allowance, the McElrathbey’s overcame significant adversity just to survive. With no car and just a little extra money flowing in through washing cars and cutting grass, the makeshift family relied on close friends and people in the community to help them along. The NCAA also granted Ray Ray a waiver, allowing him to receive gifts like free food and clothing. Both McElrathbey’s became celebrities. Ray Ray was named ABC News’ Person of the Week. He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He won the Keith Jackson Award of Excellence, the 2006 FedEX/FWAA Courage Award and was a nominee for the Sports Illustrated Man of the Year Award. He became a national name, with news and sports outlets closely following his story.

Fahmarr will be following Ray Ray to Howard and he is optimistic about the move.

“He is excited. He has never seen snow. And neither have I for that matter,” McElrathbey joked. “He is excited and he is going to be going to a really good middle school in Washington D.C.”

Entering the summer of 2008, the image is now changing. While big brother is still caring for Fahmarr and is proud of the bond he and his sibling have developed, the nation will soon see a new Ray Ray. As a key playmaker for one of the nation’s premier academic institutions and a rising football program, McElrathbey will use Howard University and the Washington D.C. backdrop to show fans another type of love – his love for the game. The former Tiger chose Howard over Southern Miss, Central Florida, North Carolina Central and Jacksonville State. Ray Ray’s decision was a multi-faceted one. Athletics and academics were included.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to pick Howard because I graduate from Clemson with a degree in Sociology on August 9th and Howard has a tremendous Master’s Degree program in communications,” McElrathbey explained. “Howard is also in a huge market in Washington D.C. It was a no brainer.”

A former three-star recruit on, McElrathbey was recruited by numerous national programs out of Mays High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Arkansas, Clemson, Florida and Georgia Tech, among others, offered the versatile speedster. At 5’11’‘, 207 pounds with clocked 4.36 speed and a 38-inch vertical, Ray Ray will now become the offensive catalyst for head coach Carey Bailey and the new spread-offense at Howard.

“When I went up for the spring game and I met the coaches and the players and I got to watch some film from last year, I saw that Howard was only leadership away from winning most of their games. I’m going to Howard to give them leadership and become the player that can lead them to wins. I think I can lead a young team like Howard,” McElrathbey stated. “With Xavier Rucker from Nebraska in the Big 12, Oscar Gonzalez from Auburn in the SEC and now me from Clemson in the ACC, the days of 4-7 are over. Another big reason was the coaches. I remember coach Carey Bailey from Minnesota. He wasn’t there when I was being recruited but I remember him from there. I really like coach Alvin Harper and what he is doing with the offense.”

Ray Ray has raised a younger brother. Now he’s raising the expectations at Howard.

Just ask Fahmarr…everybody loves Ray Ray. America has become captivated with the McElratheby brothers. Their story and their love for one another stands as a lesson to us all. They took the Clemson community by storm. Now big brother and little brother both will head to Howard. The Bison, who will have an influx of a handful of other FBS transfers, open their season on September 6th against Georgetown at Greene Stadium in Washington D.C. McElrathbey will start a new chapter in his life and a new legacy on the football field. As for what to expect, look for an athlete to emerge alongside the role model the nation has come to admire.

“I’m excited to get up there and be a football player. I can’t wait. This is going to be great.”

McElrathbey has spent the last few years of his life fighting through hardship, misfortune and adversity. Now he’s ready to do the same to opposing defenders.



BJ Bennett – B.J. Bennett is’s founder and publisher. He is the co-host of “Three & Out” with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the “Southern Pigskin Radio Network”. Email: [email protected] / Twitter: @BJBennettSports

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