CORAL GABLES — Ray Lewis was waiting 10 yards deep, crouched like he was wearing his No. 52 jersey and pads.
In front of more than 100 high school juniors and seniors at UM’s Paradise Camp, the Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker gave a rousing speech touching on several themes: competition, character, discipline, respect, integrity, effort, not being distracted by social media and video games, and of course, his alma mater.
“His speech was touching,” said Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas junior cornerback Al Blades Jr. “You know, that’s Ray Lewis. Every time he opens his mouth, he’s going to try to touch your heart.”
Hurricanes quarterback commit Cade Weldon said Lewis’ speech was “my favorite part of the day: “Just to see a dude with that much passion, talking about how Miami can get us ready for the next level, was really cool.”
Lewis and fellow Hall of Famer Michael Irvin gave speeches to the campers, while a slew of other Hurricanes (Jon Beason, Jeremy Shockey, Antrel Rolle, Brett Romberg, Najeh Davenport, Phillip Buchanon, Gino Torretta among them) helped coach the players.
Lewis didn’t stand quietly on the sidelines:
“We don’t sell people to come to the ‘U,'” he said during his speech. “Either you’re for us, or you’re not.”
Another pearl of wisdom from Lewis:
“I went to the league and played 17 years, and I watched this revolving door of younger athletes, faster athletes and stronger athletes. I watched them walk right out the door. … The only reason I stayed around is effort.”
He also noted a few interesting personal habits for success: he claimed he did 2,500 push-ups Saturday morning, hasn’t eaten meat or pork in 23 years (he’s 41) and still writes down everything he eats every day. He doesn’t drink soda or eat after 8 p.m. and drinks two gallons of water every day.
Anyway, here’s the speech:
Watch: Ray Lewis’ passionate speech to recruits
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