LaBryan Ray Back In The NFL- Former Alabama Star Signs With Carolina Panthers
MADISON- LaBryan Ray is back where he belongs. The former James Clemens Jet has returned to the NFL with the Carolina Panthers to complete the team’s 90-player training camp roster.
The 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive end was an undrafted rookie in 2022 after playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide completing his play in 2021. He was fortunate enough to sign with the New England Patriots as a practice squad player during last summer’s pre-season games. In October of last year, he was placed on injured reserve due to a foot injury and remained there throughout the 2022 NFL season.
Earlier this year, Ray struck another deal with the Patriots only to be waived by the team five weeks later.
The 25-year old Ray joined the Philadelphia Stars already three games into the season of the USFL. Upon suiting up with the Stars he would record three sacks and numerous QB hurries due to his relentless efforts of playing defensive end, a position he began as a freshman at James Clemens. Ray had the chance to sign with the NFL Panthers and was released by the Stars to allow the longtime resident of Madison the opportunity to advance again to the NFL.
At James Clemens, Ray was a five-star performer and was listed as the No. 1 player in Alabama on Signing Day 2017. He had 45 career starts for the Jets with 275 tackles, 26 sacks and 50 tackles for a loss, all making him a two-time Class 7A Lineman of the Year, two-time All-State selection and a member of the Under Armour All-American squad. He signed with Alabama and two of his team/classmates also signed major college scholarships. Kyriq McDonald signed with Alabama and Monty Rice signed with Georgia.
“I remember my first scholarship offer from Western Kentucky when I was a sophomore. I was on cloud nine. I was in class at the time and was told someone was at the school to speak to me. They got me out of class. I was shocked,” said Ray during an interview with the Madison Record in 2017. “Every day calls came in. It was crazy. I’ll will remember those days for the rest of my life.”
The growth on the football field, the recruiting war for his football talents and the attempts to be just a normal teenager were all part of his success. He lived experiences without his beloved mother by his side as Ray was just six years old when his mother, Angela, died of a blood clot. Has father, Gary Ray Sr., raised Ray and his two brothers, Gary Jr. and Brandon, both of whom played college football just like their father. “My father taught me how to act and know right from wrong,” added Ray during the 2017 interview. “He taught me how to treat everyone with respect.”
Ray began playing football in the fourth grade putting on the uniform of the Pop Warner Madison Patriots. He said his family, especially his father, was his mentor. He knows his mother is with him in spirit and will always be his guiding light in football and in life.