Sept. 10, 2001
By Bill Baker
FSU Sports Information
Florida State University’s football team has a strong history of players who have found success playing two different sports. Deion Sanders (baseball), Charlie Ward (basketball) and Chris Weinke (baseball) come to mind when listing former Seminole football players who have had professional careers in another sports field. Senior fullback William McCray is also looking to have a successful career in a profession other than football. However, his plans do not involve a playing field. McCray is hoping his passion for music will land him behind a soundboard in a recording studio.
Earlier this year, McCray produced a number of tracks on an album for roommate and former teammate Ed Mitchell and other local talents. Armed with his drum machine, McCray has become a favorite among his teammates for recording drumbeat tracks his fellow Seminoles can rap to in the locker room.
“I was always into music since I was little because my uncle was a deejay,” said the six-foot, 228-pound Jacksonville native. “In high school, I bought a drum machine and I liked making beats. When it started out, I would make them for the fun of it, for myself, and put them on tape to listen to. Then one day someone said, ‘Hey, you know you could make money doing this.'”
While things have been working out for McCray in the music field, luck has not been on his side when it comes to the football field. Since his arrival in 1997, McCray has suffered injuries in each of the last three seasons, causing him to miss a number of games. The worst came in 1999. After winning the starting fullback position, McCray fractured his right lower leg following the season opener against Louisiana Tech. The injury forced the junior to take a medical redshirt.
“It took a lot of rehab and more than a year to get back into playing shape,” said McCray on his road to recovery. “Even in spring practices, I wasn’t fully recovered. I had to limit myself in the things that I could do. During spring practices, I knew that if I made the wrong move I could re-injure it.”
McCray returned to the playing field in 2000 with a vengeance. After the first nine games, McCray led the team with eight rushing touchdowns and punished would-be tacklers with vicious blocks out of the backfield. However, prior to the game against Clemson, the injury bug struck again. Except for a brief appearance against Florida, McCray found himself sitting out the rest of the season with a sprained ankle.
“I’ve never been hurt in high school, and when I got here it seemed like every year something happened,” said McCray who played his prep career at the Bolles School, a football powerhouse on the First Coast.
McCray started at fullback for three years at Bolles and rushed for more than 3,000 yards during his final two seasons. As a junior, he carried the Bulldogs to a state title with a 274-yard, two-touchdown performance in the championship game. It was also at Bolles where he joined the band to play the drums and hone his musical talents.
“I used to get in trouble in high school for drumming on the desks,” said McCray.
Enrolling at FSU with a promising career ahead of him, it is understandable that the injuries have kept McCray from performing at his best. Entering this season, he sat out most of two-a-days with a hamstring pull and was in jeopardy of losing his starting position.
“I think I have a lot to prove (this season),” stated McCray. “I’ve asked to play some tailback and they’ve given me a shot. Now I have to prove to them I can get the job done.”
As a senior, McCray must also get the job done in the locker room when it comes to leadership. This season’s Seminoles have been hit hard with injuries to key players and an abundance of youth will be counted on to step in and perform. So McCray, along with his fellow seniors, must take a larger leadership role than in the past.
“We (seniors) have to take a bigger role because we have a lot of young guys and injuries have set us back,” said McCray. “But the team is still up for the challenge and we still got our heads up.
“I’ve been keeping everybody together as a team, especially the young guys, helping them get adjusted to everything. They’re going to be the ones who are going to have to step up this year.”
With one season left, McCray looks to continue where he left off last season before his injury and hopes the change in uniform to No. 15 (his old high school number) will bring him some deserving good luck.
As for his future, he plans to make himself a permanent fixture in the production booth.
“Producing music is what I really want to do,” said McCray. “Right now with school and football I don’t have the time to concentrate on it and shop around demos.”