UCF's EVERYDAY CHAMPIONS - Jordan and Justin McCray


GO KNIGHTS
GO KNIGHTS

GO KNIGHTS

Aug 27, 2013

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By Eric DeSalvo
UCFKnights.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - In late July, prior to the start of UCF's preseason practices, Jordan and Justin McCray visited the Florida Citrus Bowl to speak to more than 75 economically disadvantaged middle school students who were attending the FC Sports Camp. In between the typical questions about being a twin and their imposing size, the brothers shared personal stories and encouraged the campers to try and fulfill any goal they set out to reach.

The McCrays seemed to relish the moments with the campers, appearing as comfortable talking to the youngsters as they do protecting quarterback Blake Bortles as the keystones of the Knights' offensive line.

Now in their senior campaign, Jordan and Justin are not only proud to lead on the football team, they also welcome serving as role models off the field.

"Being a role model, you have to do the right things when people are looking and when they are not looking as well," Jordan said. "Being brought up the way we were, I feel real comfortable in that position."

When they arrived on campus in 2010, the Miami natives were far from content in the spotlight. Instead, they simply followed around fellow offensive lineman, and older brother Cliff, who they credit with setting a high standard for them to follow. Once they started playing more as sophomores and juniors, their growth as leaders followed.

They now strive to help younger players and frequently impress with their work ethic. Head coach George O'Leary was recently asked which players on the team he views as leaders, and Jordan and Justin were the first names he mentioned.

"I make sure that I am doing everything 100 percent, so the guys behind me can do it 100 percent," Jordan said. "If I am talking, I want to be well spoken, so when it is the younger guys' time to talk, they can be well spoken as well. I try to do the right thing, so when I am seen, I will be setting a good example for the younger guys."

Each brother started all 14 games last season, with Jordan logging seven contests at right guard and seven at left guard and Justin appearing in seven games at right tackle and seven at right guard. The dominant duo helped the Knights produce some impressive offensive numbers on their way to a 10-4 mark and a victory in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg.

The brothers have developed into Coach O'Leary's go-to-guys to represent the Knights in the community and with the media. Days after speaking to the campers at the Citrus Bowl, Jordan and Justin joined Bortles and Coach O'Leary at the inaugural American Athletic Conference media day in Rhode Island.

Interpersonal-organizational communication majors, the pair enjoyed interacting with media members and talking about the upcoming season. The time around the press was beneficial, because after what they hope are long professional playing careers, they hope to head up to the press box and work as broadcasters.

Like most identical twins, Jordan and Justin are nearly inseparable. They know that will change once their UCF careers are over and they graduate. The days of playing side by side and finishing each other's sentences in team meetings will soon end, but the benefits of attending UCF together will last forever they say.

"It has been great," Jordan said. "I feel like me and my brother have a great work ethic already. I don't want Justin to beat me in anything. It is an all-around competition. It is really great having developed into a better person and a better man at UCF."

The brothers seem focused to leave a lasting legacy at UCF, one that will undoubtedly include success on the field and in the classroom, leadership and of course, serving as role models, which made the visit to the camp even more special.

"We are just blessed to do this. Not everyone has the chance to play college football, let alone be an influence in a younger person's life," Jordan said. "We are blessed that Coach O'Leary thinks so highly of us and allows us to do things like that."

"Growing up, I always wanted somebody who was in the position that I wanted to be in, a college football player, to come and talk to me and tell me how to get there and what he did to get there. Being able to do that brings joy to me," Justin said.

 

 

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