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Q&A With LaBryan Ray: Alabama Career, How His Family Motivates Him, NFL Outlook

LaBryan Ray of Alabama.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: LaBryan Ray #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide flexes during the College Football Playoff National Championship football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

When it comes to playing with an edge, LaBryan Ray certainly checks off that box. Since joining Alabama's program in 2017, the five-star recruit has played a relentless brand of football.

Leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft, scouts have raved about Ray's "violent hands" and lateral range. They're also impressed by his ability to play all over the defensive line.

Ray didn't participate in on-field drills because he's still rehabbing, but he had the chance to speak with multiple scouts and coaches at the NFL Combine earlier this month.

We caught up with LaBryan Ray to discuss his career at Alabama, preparation for the NFL Draft, what motivates him and much more.

The Spun: How has the adjustment period from college to the pros been for you?

LaBryan Ray: It’s been great. I can’t really complain. I’ve been able to rehab and train over the past few months. Just to be able to do all that in order to achieve a dream of mine I’ve had since I was young [making the NFL] is great.

The Spun: You had a successful run at Alabama. What do you think you showed on tape during your time there?

LR: As far as my tape, I showed that I’m a player who can play multiple positions and puts the team first. I’m not necessarily a vocal leader, but I lead by example. I think I’m a player who’ll give it their all no matter what. I’m a player that coaches can rely on.

The Spun: You’ve shown you can move around the defensive line. Do you have a preference as far as what technique or position you play heading into the NFL?

LR: I moved around even in high school. I’m comfortable moving around the line of scrimmage depending on if it’s a run or pass play. I find it interesting to learn different techniques and stuff like that. I love being able to just play at different spots.

The Spun: Do you have a favorite moment or win from your time at Alabama?

LR: I would say my sophomore year when we played Auburn. The energy the crowd gave us at Bryant-Denny Stadium was amazing. Rivalry games like that at home are just so special. Every time a big play happened, the crowd went crazy. I’ve had a lot of great moments at Alabama, and I definitely will miss playing there because of that atmosphere.

The Spun: You went up against Bryce Young, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts during your time at Alabama. How did going up against them sharpen your game?

LR: It sharpened my game a lot because all of those quarterbacks are different but great in their own way. When you know you have that guy on your side going into battle, you feel good. They were definitely great leaders. From that standpoint, I would come in every day and just want to follow them because they were great. I learned a lot playing against them. You’re going up against the best of the best at Alabama, so it was an “iron sharpens iron” situation.

The Spun: Nick Saban is highly regarded as the greatest college football coach of all time. What lesson from him will you remember forever?

LR: I learned a couple of lessons from Coach Saban. One that stood out from Day 1 was to pay close attention to detail. I think a lot of players come in and don’t realize how important the little things are. Perfecting the little things takes a team to the next level. That could be the difference between winning a big game or losing a big game. I’ve learned a lot more from him, but Coach Saban really preached the importance of taking care of the little things.

The Spun: What separates LaBryan Ray from other defensive linemen?

LR: I would say a couple of things. I’m a relentless player. I play fast and physical when running to the ball. I try to wreak havoc on every down. I’m versatile and can play different positions. It’s a good thing to be versatile, especially in the NFL.

The Spun: What has been your motivation throughout this process?

LR: My motivation comes from my mother. She passed away when I was just 6. I think highly of her, and she thought highly of me. I always want to honor her. Everything I do is for her. Of course, I play for my dad and two older brothers. We’ve been through a lot, but managed to get out of it and grow together. My family is special to me. Even when there are times that you don’t feel like you have it, they give me the motivation I need. My teammates have also motivated me throughout this journey. Your teammates are the people you’re going into work with every single day. You want to work for them and win for them. They make a lot of the same sacrifices that you make in order to take care of people they love.

The Spun: What would it mean to you to hear your name called during the draft?

LR: It has always been a dream of mine to hear my name called during the draft. To have my name called would be something I’ll never forget. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this event. It would be a blessing. There’s a reason why I put all the work in. Just to have that moment with my close family and friends is something I will cherish forever.

Over the course of his Alabama career, Ray had 76 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Ray has dealt with a few injuries in recent years, but if he can stay healthy, he could be an impact player at the next level.

You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.