Ritenour defensive tackle Ed Ray decided he didn't want to go very far for college, and now he won't have to.
A 6-foot-4, 282-pound senior, Ray made a verbal commitment to the University of Missouri on Sunday.
"It was really close," he said. "I really loved the coaching staff. and I think the program is a good program for me, a nice fit."
Ray said he picked Missouri over scholarship offers from Kansas, Kansas State, Indiana and Illinois. When asked why the program was a good fit, he pointed to a pair of recent first-round draft picks, Ziggy Hood of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49ers.
"They've had some success with d-linemen," he said.
And Columbia was close to home.
"I can't be too far from my mom and her home cooking," he said.
Ray is rated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as the sixth-best prospect in the area for the Class of 2012 and is rated by Rivals.com as the ninth-best recruit in Missouri.
He was a third-team Post-Dispatch All-Metro selection following his junior season, when he racked up 74 tackles and a team-high eight sacks.
Ray is the fourth area prospect to commit to the Tigers in this recruiting class. He joins Parkway North linebacker Donavin Newsom, MICDS linebacker Michael Scherer and Affton graduate Markus Golden, a linebacker at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
Verbal commitments are not binding. High school football prospects cannot sign with schools until February of their senior year.