GOOCHLAND – Senior standout Devin McCray has learned a lot in his years playing football for Goochland County.
He’s learned about leadership, hard work and being a well-rounded teammate from both the upperclassmen ahead of him and the underclassmen coming up.
He’s learned life lessons – including how to be a man – from his coaches, especially wide receivers and defensive backs coach and role model Justin Fitzgerald. Both Fitzgerald and McCray’s dad impressed on him the importance of getting himself mentally prepared.
“They have established Goochland football into me,” McCray said. “To myself, Goochland football means…always trust your teammates; always work together; and never give up. Those three things have stuck with me throughout Goochland football. I’ll just never forget those three things.”
With the lessons he’s learned and the hard work he’s put in over the years, McCray is taking the next step in his playing career. This past Wednesday, he officially penned his decision to attend and play Division I FCS football for the University of Richmond.
“It’s just a big accomplishment and this is a big deal for my family and I,” McCray said. “My family’s very proud of me and they’re always by side and they’ll support me. They’re my biggest fans.”
He’s also had the Goochland family behind him throughout his life.
“The Goochland community – they’re big supporters,” he said, noting how they’ve re-posted highlights and updates on Reid Chenault playing at Richmond. “They would just show love to him, so I know they will always support me.” He’s already had people in the community tell him that they’ll come to his Richmond games.
McCray’s been playing football since he was 5 years old. Throughout all of that time, he’s been teammates – and neighbors – with fellow senior Kindrick Braxton, his best friend. They would go outside and throw the football, work on things they needed to fix and study the game together.
“We both started at the same time…we were always on the same team, grew up putting in the hard work together,” McCray said. “We’d just strive to be better than each other. We always compete against each other, and I think that’s what makes us really good athletes.”
McCray, a four-year starter, helped his Bulldogs achieve an astounding 51-5 win-loss record with back-to-back region championships in 2018 and 2019, three state semifinals appearances and one state runner-up season in 2018.
He’s held many roles on the field – he started at safety as a freshman, played both offense and defense his last three years and started at quarterback as a sophomore and junior before shifting to wingback on offense his senior year.
No matter the position he played, McCray made an impact, including when he scored the game-winning touchdown that carried the Bulldogs past Buckingham 13-7 in double overtime earlier this season.
“I play football, so no matter where I’m put, I’m just gonna do my job – anything to help the team,” McCray said. “I’ve always been switched back from running back to quarterback when I was younger, so it was nothing new, but basically I just did anything to help the team – whichever ways I could be more of an asset to the team and be a threat to other opponents.
“If they can use me in multiple ways, let’s do it.”
This past season on offense, McCray rushed 46 times for 429 yards and 9 touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 364 more yards and 5 more TDs.
“I felt like I contributed a good amount, but also it opened up other opportunities for my other teammates, like Kameron Holman,” McCray said. “In the Hopewell game I really didn’t get that many touches, but that opened up a lot for him, and he was able to shine and was able to perform very well against Hopewell, and I’m proud of him for that, and I want him to do good next year for his senior year, pick up some offers this offseason…I feel like the underclassmen will have good opportunities now.”
In three years McCray totaled 1,276 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground. In two years plus one pass completed as a freshman, he threw for 1,587 yards and 23 TDs against 7 interceptions.
On defense this year, McCray rolled out 26 tackles (16 solo, 1 for loss), caught four interceptions, recovered a fumble, scored one defensive touchdown and earned Defensive Player of the Year in Class 3, Region B and Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the James River District. McCray in four years delivered 131 tackles (70 solo, 61 assists, 3 for loss), 15 interceptions, 3 recovered fumbles and two defensive TDs.
He’ll play at either corner or safety for the Spiders.
McCray verbally committed to the University of Richmond before the start of his senior season. He also received offers from Delaware State, Howard, Robert Morris, Georgetown and Virginia State. With Richmond, McCray felt like they really wanted him, given how they came off and how they talked to him. He added that Richmond has very nice facilities, a very nice campus and a good education – the latter of which, he noted, was his main reason for choosing the university.
“Because football isn’t my whole, entire life, I know that, if I go to Richmond, I’ll have a pretty good job coming out,” he said, noting that his career interests in addition to football include civil engineering, business and sports management. “It’ll set me up for the future.”
When he last visited, he said the team was very nice and welcoming; he praised the coaching staff, and he saw that they're very supportive of each other, they work together and they don’t turn their backs on each other.
He’s looking forward to making the most of his opportunity to compete at the NCAA Division I level.
“All my hard work is just paying off. I’ve worked so hard for this – and I’m going to continue to work hard because I can’t let up now just because I got into a school,” McCray said. “Basically I’m starting all over again…it’s a clean sheet of paper and I have to write my story again and my legacy. I have to leave a mark at the next level. I want them to know my name – how they know my name at Goochland, I want them to know my name at Richmond.
“I just want to have the opportunity to go to an even higher level – the NFL,” he said. “I have to take advantage of the opportunities and the talents that God has given me.”
To his younger teammates, McCray offers the following:
"Don't stop working hard. Accomplish what we got so close to and get that state title."