John Denton's Knights Insider: McCray Twins Excited About UCF

Feb. 5, 2010


By John Denton

Click here to receive the Knights Insider via email

Jordan and Justin McCray don't just finish each other's sentences. They often begin each other's thoughts as well.

Ask them which identical twin is stronger and in unison they say, ``Depends on the lift.'' And when the topic comes to the result of a wrestling match between the two talented high school grapplers, the replay is the same: ``Overtime.''

The twin offensive linemen also shared the similar belief that UCF was the right place for them when it came time to pick a college. They will be following in the footsteps of older brother, Cliff McCray, a starter at guard as a senior this past season for UCF.

Their parents, dad Clifford and mom Debra, were closely involved in the process and leaned heavily toward UCF because of the positive experiences that Cliff had at UCF. Cliff started 12 of the 13 games at guard this past season on the UCF team that went 8-5 and reached the St. Petersburg Bowl. Cliff sat out of football in 2008, but returned in 2009 and finished his career with a flourish.

Now Jordan and Justin, both 6-foot-4 and close to 290 pounds, are looking to make their own legacies at UCF. They are two of the nine Miami players recruited to UCF in what could very well be the finest class of prospects in school history. Jordan and Justin are excited about being a part of the group that potentially opens the door to more South Florida athletes learning about UCF's enormous potential.

``It's cool what's going on with that,'' Jordan said. ``We got to play with all of the (Miami) Central and (Miami) Northwestern guys in all-star games. After watching them, it seems like when we all get together we should be able to do big things at UCF.''

Telling the two twins apart might be the biggest problem considering how closely they resemble one another in looks and thinking. UCF head coach George O'Leary said that a small mole on the face is the one way he's been able to tell Justin from Jordan, and offensive line coach Brent Key once picked up on the fact that one twin wore his sideburns lower than the other.

The two have every intention of rooming together once they get on campus. Both are National Honor Society students and both project at guards along the offensive line even though they've spent time at tackle and center in their prep careers at Miami Southridge High School.

Never was it a thought that they might go to different schools. They are just that close, Debra McCray said.

``We always said that they were a package deal. I like it that way because all three of the kids have always been close,'' Debra said. ``UCF was very good to Cliff and very good to us. We like not only the athletic component, but we also love how they focus on the education. That's my key with the boys.''

Key, who will serve as the McCray's position coach along the line, was the lead recruiter for Jordan and Justin. What key saw on the football field was certainly impressive: Jordan was an All-Dade County pick while registering 67 ``pancake'' blocks this season and allowing no sacks, while Justin had 63 ``pancake'' blocks and also didn't allow a sack.

But it was what Key saw from the twins between the end of football season and the start of wrestling season that told him all he needed to know about the McCray boys.

``They had gained weight through the season and after and they were, I'll say, 330ish pounds,'' Key said with a chuckle. ``They knew they had to lose down to 285 pounds to wrestle. I was down there about six weeks ago and I told them, `There's no way that ya'll can do that.'

``They did it and I've been able to watch them wrestle and see their aggressiveness, toughness and athletic ability. With them losing that weight, it really showed me something about the determination of these guys. They have a determination to be good and have that something extra that drives kids. I'm a firm believer in kids either having it or they don't. Seeing these guys lose that to wrestle and then seeing their athletic ability, I've fallen in love with them as players.''

O'Leary concurred that McCrays should become leaders and fixtures along the offensive line. And O'Leary predicted that the two of them will contribute sooner than most freshmen because of their combination of strength, smarts and familiarity to pass blocking.

``At their school they just call them `the twins' because they look exactly a like,'' O'Leary said. ``They just what it takes to be winners. They're such good kids, both of them.''

The closeness of Justin and Jordan also pays off on the football field. When they aren't finishing each other's sentences, they are thinking alike along the line to fool opposing defensive linemen.

``It helps a lot on the field because he knows my tendencies and I know his,'' Justin said. ``Even a person away, it's easy to play with each other because we know one another so well. If we're zone blocking we'll say at the line that we're pulling knowing that it's a dummy call. We have fun like that all the time.''

Justin and Jordan said that after attending most of the Knights' games this past season to watch Cliff play, they knew that UCF was the place for them. And Debra couldn't have been happier that her twins chose to play relatively close to home.

``These three (sons) are our most prized possessions. I told Coach O'Leary and Coach Key that I have all of them on speed dial,'' Debra said. ``They are 33 minutes away in the air and 3 hours, 30 minutes from my front door to their front door and I will be checking in. But I have peace of mind to know they will be well taken care of. Cliff has never had anything but great things to say about UCF.''


John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.