He might just be the top junior college cornerback in the Jayhawk Conference and judging by his offers he probably is, but for Independence (Kan.) Community College standout Ray Cheatham this is something that he never expected to happen.
Originally from El Dorado, Ark., Cheatham would have been highly recruited out of high school, but academics forced him to take the junior college route. At the time, he thought that playing Division I football was only going to be a dream. Luckily through hard work and determination, he's making that dream come true.
"I never thought I would be recruited like this," Cheatham, who is 6-foot and 185 pounds, said. "I got recruited in high school some, but not hard like this. I made myself a promise and told myself that my top goal is to make myself better every day.
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"I knew I had to work hard to get to where I want to be – and that's playing big-time college football. I'm close to that goal, but I honestly never thought it'd happen like this."
But it has.
And now Cheatham has offers from Arkansas, Kansas and Kansas State and is scheduled to take his first official visit to K-State on November 19.
"He was one of the rawest players we had coming out of high school," Independence coach David Ward said. "But he's also a physical specimen, and he worked hard every day at being a better player. He has the size, athleticism and speed to be special."
Cheatham said he thinks his competitive streak is what has helped him the most.
"I love to compete," he said. "I knew coming out of high school that I was pretty good, but I needed to push myself. I've now gotten to the point where I want to take on the challenge of covering the other team's best receiver.
"Receivers are usually the other team's best player and they have to get the ball in their hands. I want to be the guy that shuts them out. I can do that in press, zone or whatever. I just make sure the job gets done."
Cheatham isn't sure what's going to happen with him in the future. He did talk glowingly about K-State assistant coaches Joe Bob Clements and Bob Elliot.
"They're real nice and down to earth," Cheatham said about the Wildcat assistants. "They let you know how it is. I have an official visit up there on the 19th. It was set on (Monday) night. They both called me and let me know that I was a key defensive recruit for them."
Cheatham also talked about Kansas assistant coach Clint Bowen.
"I like him, and he's really cool and nice," he said. "I talked to him a couple of times over the summer. He sounded real nice."