Idaho transfer says he's ready to catch, rack up some wins

Nobody calls him 'French Fry' or, heaven forbid, 'Small Fry.'

'It's usually Ray Ray,' Portland State's Raymond Fry says.

And his job is to catch catch.

A sophomore transfer from the University of Idaho, Fry could be the new guy at the right slotback position in Mouse Davis' run-and-shoot.

'I like this offense a lot,' says Fry, 5-8 and 180 pounds. 'The coaches like me in it, too.'

The Vikings need to replace their top wideouts from a year ago: Tremayne Kirkland, Kenneth Mackins and David Lewis combined for 171 receptions, 2,261 yards and 20 of PSU's 28 touchdowns in the air.

Fry played defensive back and fullback in a wing-T at Mariner High in Everett, Wash., earning all-state honors. With his 4.4 speed, he's even better suited for the run-and-shoot.

'I want to catch a lot of balls, but winning the Big Sky Conference is our main goal,' he says. 'I'm excited. I want to be on a team that's going to win. I haven't been on a team better than .500 since my sophomore year in high school.'

Fry says he didn't play football until he was 11 or 12 years old. In those days, skateboarding was his major sport. 'Always been a big fan of it, watched it on TV a lot - also motocross and stuff like that,' he says.

When he was in middle school, his mother also started pushing him to stay on top of things academically.

'I really want to get my degree. That's a big priority,' Fry says. 'My mom's been telling me since I was in sixth grade, 'You don't want to work for other people, you want to own your own business.' I read books every now and then about investing. After college, I want to play pro football, make some money and start investing, or get a job in accounting or business management.'

His mother, Leslie Fry, has been a great example. She has recovered from Guillain-Barr syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system, Fry says.

'She got sick and lost her job,' he says. 'Her whole body was paralyzed because her nervous system broke down. But she came out of it and has a degree in accounting. She makes good money.'

The Vikings hope Fry will be a money player.

'He's going to do really well,' quarterback Connor Kavanaugh predicts. 'He's really fast and quick, a waterbug, and really smart. He probably had the whole playbook down, even before spring ball started (April 14).'

A pulled quadriceps and sore hamstring have slowed his immersion, but he's working hard on his pass routes with position coach Kevin Strasser. Fry also could return kicks.

He says he's happy to have left the 'drama' of Idaho, where the coach (Nick Holt) who recruited him left, was replaced by Dennis Erickson, who also left, and was replaced by Robb Akey.

Fry says Akey, like a lot of coaches, wasn't fond of short receivers.

'I think the only coach who was honest about it was Erickson,' he says. 'He played me a lot, but at first he put in a bigger guy, and that guy didn't do a very good job. Akey's recruits were all 6-3, 6-4.'

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PSU Football

Coach Jerry Glanville says the Vikings will continue emphasizing their 'six-hour rule' in recruiting; their priority will be to sign players who live within six driving hours of Portland.

'We lost some kids to the Pac-10 this year. We've got to get to where we can battle anybody in that six-hour radius,' he says.

The ongoing fundraising for a renovated locker room will help, he says, along with the new FieldTurf at PGE Park.

• Glanville says the rest of the Big Sky Conference did well in recruiting, too.

'Montana got a tremendous back out of Arizona (fullback Dan Moore) who will be a force to reckon with,' he says. 'Montana State got 14 kids from Texas. Idaho State signed 18 junior college guys. NAU has some very, very good JC wideouts. Nowadays, you've got to get better just to stay even.'

• Depth in the offensive line won't be on board till August. Only eight healthy players are on the spring depth chart.

'I will sign nine offensive linemen a year,' Glanville says. 'I ought to have 20 lined up here.'

• The potential starting right tackle is Matt Leunen, who was forced to switch positions last year because the run-and-shoot doesn't use a tight end.

'I came here at 195 pounds; I was a little tight end,' Leunen says. 'I've gained 50 pounds since I moved last spring to the O-line.

'Now I'm up to 270. A lot of eating.'

- Steve Brandon

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