Marietta offensive tackle Jake Wray believes he has found a perfect home at the University of Colorado.
He spent six years of his childhood a little more than an hour drive away from the Boulder campus. To this day, he considers himself a big Denver Broncos fan.
The fact that Colorado hasn’t had sustained success since the 90s doesn’t bother Wray, a member of the Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen. It serves as motivation.
“I didn’t really want to chase a name brand or a big logo,” Wray said. “I kind of wanted to do my own thing and go to a place where I know that I could succeed to the best of my abilities.”
It wasn’t always this way. Last year, Wray was committed to Ohio State, where his brother Max is an offensive lineman.
One day after Urban Meyer announced his retirement, Wray decided to de-commit from the Buckeyes, citing the coaching change as the determining factor.
Wray, a four-star recruit at 6-foot-5, 300-pounds feels comfortable in Colorado. Born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, he lived in the Fort Collins, Colorado area from 2004-10 before moving to Franklin, Tennessee, then finally to Marietta.
For those six years in Colorado, Wray enjoyed attending Broncos and Rockies games, visiting the mountains and fishing.
“It’s a super cool place,” Wray said. “(There is) a lot of stuff to do.”
Marietta coach Richard Morgan said Colorado, where former Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is the new head coach, is a great fit for the anchor of his offensive line.
“I think he’s putting himself in a position where he’ll be able to play early and contribute because I really think he’s really developed as a player.”
Morgan emphasized the extent to which Wray has grown and developed.
“He’s gotten stronger, he’s gotten more athletic,” Morgan said. “He’s been more dominant. He’s taken on more of a leadership role.”
At Marietta, Wray is one of three 300-pound offensive linemen. The Blue Devils will be tasked with keeping quarterback Harrison Bailey off the ground. Bailey has missed several games the past two seasons due to injury.
The Blue Devils are hoping that its well-oiled passing machine can lead them to a better record than last season, when they went 5-6 against a tough schedule.
It’s up to linemen like Wray to keep that machine running.
“We got a really good line this year,” Wray said. “We got a lot of people coming back. We’re bigger than last year, but we just have to have a common code and hold each other to our own standard.”