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Former Florida State standout Malcolm Ray sees Rutgers football as a team ‘with an edge’

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — It is a time of transition and change for Malcolm Ray, who is a first-time father and settling into a new situation with Rutgers football. The former Florida State defensive lineman picked Rutgers, in part, due to his instant connection with head coach Greg Schiano.

Ray came to Rutgers this offseason out of the transfer portal with four years of eligibility left. During his four seasons at Florida State, he had 60 total tackles with 3.5 sacks and two passes defended.

Settling in at Rutgers is still ongoing, not a surprise given that Ray had spent four years in the ACC and with a powerhouse program like Florida State. But the decision to select Rutgers was one where Ray felt an instant bond with the coaching staff and in particular Schiano.

Ahead of Saturday’s spring game, Ray talked about his decision to leave Florida State and join Rutgers this offseason.

“It was a big risk. So I got to say, with coach Schiano, when we first got on the phone and we were talking like we knew each other from way back when,” Ray told Rutgers Wire.

“But it was just like the connection that we instantly. We clicked so fast and it was just like ‘How can I not?’ A connection with the head coach is like something you want. So it was just that it felt right.”

Ray steps into a spot at Rutgers where is likely to start and play significant snaps.

Isaiah Iton, a transfer portal addition who had a strong season at Rutgers last year, is now heading to the NFL. Last season, Iton had 34 total tackles and half-a-sack in his lone season in the Big Ten.

Ray, with plenty of big-game experience at Florida State, now brings a savviness to the interior defensive line.

Rutgers is looking to take the next step and build on last year’s 7-6 season where they beat Miami in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. Most of the defense is returning, and Ray is a valuable piece to what projects to be one of the top defensive fronts in the nation.

“It has been perfect. Settling is going just fine. Everything’s going great. Meeting new players, new coaches, everything is new. But at the end of the day, we all have the same goal and the same mindset. So we come together as one to get everything accomplished,” Ray said.

“I mean it pretty much when I came in it, it felt like family and it helped me become the person that I am as of right now. You know, getting used to the coaching staff and the players it just felt like home.”

Then, Ray says something curiously intriguing. A thoughtful speaker, he created a nuanced statement when describing Rutgers.

The family environment around the program is real, he said. But there is also a mentality that makes the defense different.

They are a family off the field, but a hostile and aggressive defensive unit when on it.

“Like I said before, this family is a family environment. So coming in makes me feel more welcome than other places,” Ray said.

“You know, this is different it is literally what I call home. What’s different? Everything. Understand that we have an edge over her. We see things differently. We attack things differently. We have that mindset of attacking.”

 

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire