Ray Hamilton is counting down the days. The future Hawkeye, along with high school teammate and 2011 Iowa basketball recruit Aaron White, are actually in Iowa City this week going through orientation. The next step will be leaving for Iowa the day after graduation and starting their college careers. Hamilton has been working hard preparing for the upcoming season and hopes to make an impact on the field this fall.
Q: You are heading to Iowa City this week. What is the reason?
HAMILTON: I'm actually heading to Iowa City for an orientation tomorrow. I'm coming out there with my buddy Aaron White. We both have orientation. We are both taking summer classes.
Q: What has spring been like for you? Did you do any other sports beyond the basketball season?
HAMILTON: No, basketball was it for me. I immediately got into my workout routine for football, which has been excellent. This has been the best off season of my life and I am going to need every bit of it once I get to the weight room at Iowa with the big boys.
Q: What did you do in this training and how much strength or weight did you add?
HAMILTON: I really wasn't focused too much on numbers. It was more about getting my body right and I talked to the Iowa coaches about it. I did a lot of speed work and I'm trying to become more explosive with everything I do. I worked a lot on my technique as well. I wasn't too focused on numbers because I know they will come in the next few years with Iowa's strength program. I just want to be prepared to help the team this fall and give myself the best opportunity to get on the field.
Q: Looking back at the recent history with Iowa tight ends, you see Moeaki comes in and plays as a true freshman. Reisner comes in and plays as a true freshman. Fiedorowicz comes in and does the same thing. Is that your mentality too?
HAMILTON: Yeah, absolutely. You look at the history of tight ends at Iowa and that has to be your mentality. I'm sure that the other two tight end recruits have that exact same mentality because the Iowa coaches wouldn't recruit them if they didn't. I want to come in and make an impact on the team. I am not worried about any number of snaps or anything like that. I just want to help the team in any way I can. I'm going to be coachable and come in and work my tail off. If I do that, then good things will come from that. I'm not the type of person to just sit back and wait for something to happen. My dad always says there are three types of people in the world, those that watch things happen, those that want things to happen, and those who make things happen. I am going to make things happen. It will probably come on special teams, but I am going to just try to make things happen there and be aggressive in everything that I do. When you look at the tight ends we have at Iowa with C.J., Zach Derby, and Brad (Herman), we all have that same mentality and we all want to be on the field. We are all going to be competing at the highest level. I know I have to learn the playbook, but once you put your hand in the dirt, you aren't thinking about age or how long you have been in the program. You are just thinking about getting after it and continuing this great tradition.
Q: When you do graduate and when are you going to arrive on the Iowa campus?
HAMILTON: Graduation is June 5th and then I will be in Iowa City on June 6th.
Q: That's a pretty quick turnaround from graduation to arriving on campus.
HAMILTON: It is, but this is what I have been dreaming about since I was a little kid and I can't put into words how excited I am to get to campus and start working.
Q: Who will have a better career at the University of Iowa, Ray Hamilton the football player or Aaron White the basketball player?
HAMILTON: (laugh) We are both going to do very well and work very hard. He is extremely talented as a basketball player and I am going to do my very best as a football player. He has been one of my best friends growing up and we are both going to try and make our marks as Hawkeyes. Aaron is going to be a good one and all the Iowa fans should know that.
Q: To a lot of Iowa fans, Aaron White is still a bit of a mystery as a player. What can you tell us about him as a basketball player?
HAMILTON: He just took it to a whole new level this year. I have been playing basketball with him since we were on the same all star team in second grade and in the past year I have seen him improve a lot. We would be in the gym late at night and it might be me catching a few extra passes or him getting up extra shots, we are always helping each other to be the best that we can be and to help the University of Iowa in the sports that we will be playing. He did all the little things this year and really took his leadership to another level. He had huge numbers this year, but he took the younger players under his wing and when we needed a big shot or a big play, he always stepped up and asked for the ball. He has been working his tail off this spring and already took his game to a Big Ten level this year. He is ready to help the Hawks in basketball.
Q: Did you get assigned a number yet?
HAMILTON: No I haven't and I really don't care. As long as I get a jersey and can strap on a helmet, that is all I need.
Q: Are you and Aaron roommates this summer?
HAMILTON: We are going to see what happens. I know that idea was kicked around since we are both taking classes this summer. I think in the fall I am going to room with one of the football guys and he will room with one of the basketball guys. We will still be close friends and hang out, but I think we both need to branch off and experience the college life.
As a senior, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Hamilton caught 55 passes for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns in leading Strongsville to a 6-4 record. In June 2010, he committed to the Hawkeyes over 32 other scholarship offers, which included Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Oklahoma, Boston College, Colorado, Cincinnati, and Stanford, among others.