New Jersey TE Focuses on Season

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With many prospects touring campuses and even making decisions this summer, Bergen Catholic (NJ) star tight end James Dray has been doing the opposite. Dray has not thought about recruiting much, if at all, over the course of the summer.

“I’ve pretty much put recruiting on the back burner for now,” Dray said. “I haven’t narrowed it down at all. I don’t want to burn any bridges.”

Instead Dray has been training hard for his senior season – a season he expects will be a great one.

“I think we’re going to do really well,” Dray said. “I think we’re going to go 12-0 and win a state championship. I don’t think anyone can match up with us.

“[Over the off-season] I’ve definitely improved my weight and my speed. I’m up to 230 pounds, and I’ve gotten faster. I’ve been working on my hands too. I’ve improved a lot, but at the same time it couldn’t hurt to get better.”

Working with a local trainer who works with NFL players, Dray has gained strength and speed while also learning the work ethic it takes to reach the next level.

“I’ve been lifting with a local guy who trains a lot of NFL players,” Dray said. “I’ve gotten to work out with Dhani Jones and some other guys. It’s been a great experience. By watching the NFL players, you see they have the hardest work ethic.”

At 6-5, 230-pounds, Dray runs in the 4.6 range in the 40-yard dash. He is a tight end with an excellent all-around game, possessing the ability to make big plays in the passing game and showing excellent blocking ability as well. He made 30 receptions for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns last season as a junior. He had 143 yards of receiving in the state title game.

“Jim is an outstanding receiver and a blocker on offense,” Bergen Catholic Head Coach Fred Stengel said in an interview earlier this year. “He runs so well and he knows how to get good leverage. He’s good on offense and defense. He’s just a tremendous football player. He can do it all.”

All 14 or 15 schools who have offered are recruiting him as a tight end. Stanford, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Boston College, Rutgers, Connecticut, West Virginia, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Northwestern are among the schools who have offered.

Dray, who says he is “looking forward to hearing from the coaches” once the contact period begins next month, right now wants to make all 5 official visits.

“Yes I do want to take