With the nods, Ray has become a consensus First Team All-American, meaning he has been placed on three of the four All-American first teams that have been announced. Prior to the AFCA and Sporting News decisions, Ray was honored with a placement by the Walter Camp Foundation. He also received an Associated Press All-American second team distinction.
The AFCA All-American team is unique because of the selection process. Each candidate is selected by professionals who know the players, coaches, and the game itself. The AFCA selects a 25-member team made up of five divisions. The team includes a punter, a placekicker, 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, and an all-purpose player. Each athlete chosen for the AFCA All-American team is awarded a plaque honoring his selection as an AFCA All-American.
Ray is the Mizzou Football’s third-ever defensive end to earn First Team All-American honors, joining Justin Smith (2000) and Michael Sam (2013). He is the Tigers’ first junior defensive end to reach first team All-America status since Smith.
Ray reset the school’s single-season sack record with 14.0 this season while also totaling 21.0 tackles for loss. Both of those figures are the third-highest nationally and lead the SEC. He is second in the SEC in tackles for loss per game and sixth nationally in tackles for loss per game. Ray also finished fifth on the team in total tackles with 61.
The Tigers are off from practice until this Friday, when they continue on-field preparations for the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against Minnesota, set for January 1 in Orlando, Florida at 12 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN on ABC.