- Drafted 23rd Overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft
- Tiger defensive end becomes Mizzou’s seventh first rounder since 2009.
CHICAGO, Ill. – Mizzou junior defensive end and reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year Shane Ray (Kansas City, Mo.) was selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos on Thursday (April 30).
Ray becomes the seventh Mizzou standout since 2009 to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, joining DL Sheldon Richardson (No. 13 to the New York Jets in 2013), DL Aldon Smith (No. 7 to San Francisco in 2011), QB Blaine Gabbert (No. 10 to Jacksonville in 2011), LB Sean Weatherspoon (No. 19 to Atlanta in 2010), WR Jeremy Maclin (No. 19 to Philadelphia in 2009) and DT Ziggy Hood (No. 32 to Pittsburgh in 2009). Ray continues the trend of defensive lineman taking their careers in the NFL, becoming the sixth defensive lineman under Craig Kuligowski to be drafted since 2009.
Ray is the 19th Tiger in history to be taken in the NFL Draft’s first round. Prior to tonight’s draft, Mizzou ranked among the top five programs nationally in first round NFL Draft picks since 2009. Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel has now seen 27 players drafted since taking over the program in 2001.
Ray is coming off of a stellar junior season that saw him earn consensus First Team All-America honors after breaking Mizzou’s single-season sacks record with 14.5 on the year. He also added 22.5 tackles-for-loss. He was dubbed the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the league’s 14 coaches, and additionally he was a four-time SEC weekly award winner. Ray was also a finalist for the Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s top DE and was also a semifinalist for the Lombardi and Bednarik Awards. He led the SEC in sacks and tackles-for-loss, ranking in the top five nationally in both categories.
Drafted in the 1st-round by the Denver Broncos in 2015.
- 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2014 All-American
- Holds the single season sack record at Mizzou
- Speedy rush end who brings energy and big-play ability every snap
- Is expected to step into a leadership role for a line which has lost both starting ends from a year ago to the NFL
- Holds down the starting spot on the depth at one end spot entering spring.
- Despite his reserve status, provided a huge impact for the Tiger defense, making 39 tackles in 14 games, including 9 TFLs, 4.5 QB sacks, 11 QB pressures (2nd-most on the team) and 2 forced fumbles
- Also made one of the seminal plays of the season, when he scooped up an Oklahoma State fumble late in the Cotton Bowl and raced the other way untouched 73 yards for a game-clinching touchdown – the first of his career
- Made three tackles in the win over OSU
- Racked up his fourth-straight game with a sack in the win at Kentucky (Nov. 9)
- Tallied another sack/strip in the win vs. No. 22 Florida (Oct. 19), with the sack resulting in 10 yards lost late in the 4th quarter
- Sacked and stripped Georgia QB Aaron Murray in the 2nd quarter to result in Michael Sam’s score in the 41-26 win at No. 7 Georgia.
- Made 16 tackles total in 12 appearances in reserve
- Showed big-play ability throughout the year, as he got free for three quarterback pressures, and made 2.5 tackles for loss, to go with a fumble recovery
- Had a career-best three tackles in MU’s epic four-overtime win at Tennessee, and he had two QB pressures and a half-tackle for loss in that game as well
- Made two tackles in games against Florida, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Southeastern Louisiana
- Had at least one tackle in 10-of-12 outings overall on the season
- Also played a big role on special teams.
- Was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 17 weakside end in the nation, as well as the No. 3 overall player at any position from the state of Kansas
- Earned first-team all-state honors as a senior after totaling 100 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a blocked punt at the 5A level
- As a junior, helped lead his team to a 4A state title as he had 131 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and four forced fumbles.
- Parents – Wendell Ray & Sebrina Johnson
- Father was a defensive lineman for Warren Powers, and was a 5th-round draft pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings
- Interested in studying business in MU’s esteemed School of Business
- Chose Mizzou over Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Clemson, Kansas State and Kansas, among many others.