Faith, family and football are what drive Red Mountain’s Ben Bray.
In fact, it was those values that led the 6’5”, 270-pound offensive lineman to commit to Arizona State to further his academic and athletic career.
Bray had 14 offers including from Harvard, Yale, Cal, Arizona and Oregon State.
He was offered by the Sun Devils in early May and made his commitment 13 days later. The close proximity to home, his family’s ties with ASU and the opportunity to stay involved with his faith, all factored in to his decision to become a Sun Devil.
ASU is a family affair for the Brays.
Bray’s father got his Master’s degree from ASU, his mother is studying to become a nurse practitioner and his sister just started the nursing program.
When Bray stepped on to the Tempe campus for his own visit with ASU offensive line coach Dave Christensen, he knew he’d found his home with the Sun Devils as well.
“I met all the coaches and there’s opportunity to play there with the seniors leaving,” Bray said. “It’s close (to home), it’s in the weather I like and it’s the ASU ties. It’s a good fit.”
In his senior season at Red Mountain, Bray has had the opportunity to play alongside his younger brother Max who is also a lineman for the Mountain Lions.
Max has seen some Varsity playing time this season, but recently fractured his knee. Bray went through an injury his sophomore year as well, so has been supplying some much needed support for his brother during his time out.
“It’s hard for him to get motivated and keep going,” Bray said. “I’ve been telling him don’t quit, get the workouts in and still be a team player even though you’re on the sideline.”
With two linemen in the house, the grocery bill has got to be pretty big, right?
“This is not a joke,” Bray said. “Our grocery bill is more than our mortgage on our house. That’s what my parents told me. It’s a lot.”
When the heads of the household complain about the grocery tab, Bray is quick to remind them that they don’t have to pay for his schooling, so he feels that makes things even, he said.
Bray will be graduating from Red Mountain in December. In January, he will move into the dorms and begin his college career.
“It was a no brainer,” Bray said of graduating early. “It never dawned on me until Coach Christiansen mentioned it when I toured the facilities. Being six months ahead of my class and getting the spring ball in and also getting a head start on my degree is what it came down to.”
Bray is an honors student and has a 4.7 GPA.
At ASU, he said he’d like to study either actuary science or secondary education to become a math teacher. Right now he is leaning more towards secondary education, because he knows the load of balancing football and school will be tough.
“English is not my thing,” Bray said. “Being a math teacher kind of shows people there’s different ways to solve a problem and math gets a bad rep, because they don’t always have good teachers. I want to change that.”
Making a difference is what Bray spends his time doing when he’s not on the football field.
Each spring break Bray, his brother Max and his older sister, travel to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with Red Mountain Community Church to serve the underprivileged communities there.
“Not only is it an eye opening experience to make you appreciate what you have here in the states, but also kind of shows that there’s people who appreciate you taking the time to do it and you also build relationships and friendships.”
In addition to being involved with RMCC, Bray is Co-President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program at Red Mountain. FCA is something he plans on continuing to stay involved in at ASU.
“Coach (Kevin) Mawae, Coach Christensen’s assistant, his daughter runs the FCA at ASU, so it’s there and I can do that there as well,” Bray said.
While Bray is ready for his next chapter at ASU to begin, he’s embracing the time he has left playing for the Mountain Lions and is grateful for all the opportunities his family and his coaches have given him.
“Seeing this program grow over the last three years, it’s been a blessing,” Bray said. “(But) I’m excited for football…and that next stage in life when it actually gets real.”
You can catch the action LIVE on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET on Cox (Ch. 1004) or at yurview.com/live.