by Andrew Stark
Star Butler receiver to choose from among several college suitors this week
Friday, June 1 will be a memorable day for Butler football standout Uriah LeMay.
That’s when LeMay is scheduled to hold a press conference to announce which college football program he will attend.
LeMay’s decision will have an impact on coaches and fans from some of the nation’s traditionally successful college programs. Last week, when the 6-foot-2, 195-pound rising senior wide receiver announced that he’d soon reveal his college choice, Internet chat rooms lit up with speculation. Fans of the top programs in the country are anxiously awaiting what LeMay has decided and are hoping he’s chosen to don their school’s jersey in 2014.
As a junior, LeMay caught 43 passes for 842 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also racked up an additional 397 yards rushing, scoring five touchdowns on just 38 carries. MaxPreps.com ranks him the nation’s 95th overall prospect and the 12th-best receiver in the country.
Bulldogs coach Brian Hales said people can expect to see an increase in LeMay’s statistics during the 2012 season, as he will be the primary replacement for Zach Ferguson, the team’s leading receiver who is graduating this month.
“Uriah has great size, and with how physical he is, he separates himself from other people that play his position,” Hales said. “He is such a mismatch for most guys covering him and so athletic. We put him in the backfield some, line him up in the I (formation) and just give him the ball.
“If we were a smaller school and needed him to play defense, he would make a good safety, too. He is just so versatile, and that helps him out a lot.”
LeMay’s size and versatility helped him pick up his first college recruiting letters of interest as an eighth-grader, when UCLA and N.C. State began contacting him before anyone else. His first official scholarship offers soon followed, when Florida State and Clemson came forth, and the offers have continued to flood in ever since. He currently has 30 schools courting him from historically winning programs all over the country.
LeMay already has chosen his school, but he declined to reveal it until he makes his announcement at 6 p.m. Friday at the church his father, Stacy, pastors: Champion Christian Center, located on Nation’s Ford Road. However, LeMay’s top-10 list included Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee, South Carolina and Ohio State.
He’s taken official visits to Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, calling them typical “run-of-the-mill visits” with coaches showing him around the facilities and introducing him to the players.
While colleges are hungry for LeMay’s services, he knows what he’s looking for in a school.
“(I want) a place that will help develop me as q man mentally, physically, academically and spiritually,” he said. “One that will simply make me better as a player and member of society once I leave.”
Having relatives who have been through the recruiting process themselves has been helpful to LeMay.
His father played at Florida A&M University and also was the University of Florida’s team chaplain for more than 10 years. LeMay’s older brother, Christian, who was named 2009 Gatorade N.C. Player of the Year after leading Butler to its first state title, now is a rising sophomore quarterback at the University of Georgia.
“I would say that it eases the process for me having such good and wise counsel around me and a brother that has been through the process already as a national recruit,” LeMay said. “However, every major life decision has its pressure. I just don’t find myself under (stress about it).”
He also took his brother into account when choosing his announcement date.
“It’s exciting for me, especially knowing that Christian will be there to see me sign,” LeMay said. “Getting to announce it when he is still in town was one of the main (reasons) I chose to do it then. He has meant a lot to me, and it’s great for him to be able to be there.”
But LeMay said he’s excited to get the announcement behind him so he can help the Bulldogs compete for a state championship.
Last year, Butler finished with an 11-2 record and reached the third round of the Class 4AA state playoffs. This year, with LeMay and a strong cast of future Division 1 recruits, anything less than a state crown might be a disappointment for the Bulldogs.
“My expectations after coming up short a few games last year are to win another state championship,” LeMay said. “With all the returning talent, it is a very realistic goal and how I want to end my high school career.”
Other Bulldog rising seniors expected to play for top college programs include quarterback Riley Ferguson, linebackers Peter Kalambayi and Sean Wiggins, defensive backs Channing Stribling and Malachi Hanes, and running back Josh Glisson. MaxPreps.com ranks Kalambayi the 33rd-best prospect in the country, and Ferguson is one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.
Many of these players teamed with LeMay to win a national championship for the Mint Hill Chargers youth team in 2008, and the Bulldogs talented seniors would love to close out their careers as state champions.
“It really has been a great privilege to play with so many that advanced to play in the (Southwestern 4A conference),” LeMay said. “And (it is special) to be playing with several that I have been with since eighth grade and won national championships with. It is a bond that I will never forget.”
The college recruiting process officially ends for LeMay on Friday 1. And although it was tedious at times, he said he’s also enjoyed it.
“It has been great, a tremendous blessing, to be considered one of the top players around,” LeMay said. “To be held in such a high regard with people in general, as well as having the major universities interested in me, it has been a really great experience.”