Slippery Rock started the season under-the-radar but thanks to the flashy play of senior Milly Raye, an upset against then No. 24 West Chester and a 2-0 start has The Rock gathering no moss – and the attention of the football world.
Raye is a big reason Slippery Rock is gathering national attention. The silky smooth wide receiver captivated social media with a touchdown full of electric speed and flashy moves.
This week, he was at it again. Raye pulled in five catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with just minutes left on the clock. His first touchdown was another social media moment -- featuring his signature spin move.
“Every time I get the ball, I see end zone," Raye said. "I don’t just want to get a first down. It’s an opportunity to make a couple moves and get in the end zone.”
Those moves come from a combination of things. Raye is a natural athlete. Once he leaves the gridiron in December, he takes to the hardwood for the Slippery Rock basketball team.
“It definitely comes from athleticism,” Raye said. “Playing basketball, footwork, training, core strength. Mostly, though, the spin moves get me out of trouble.”
Of course, he's helped out in other ways as well. “Oh yeah, I definitely got good dance moves.”
Raye brings the same energy and excitement he does on the field to his personality off the field as well. Even though he is seemingly always smiling, he’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet. That’s where the nickname “Milly” comes from. As explained by Jon Holtz, director of The Rock’s athletic communications:
“It stands for Military. It started when he was playing little league football. They were doing Army crawls and he always finished first and was always determined to be the first one done. He also always used yes sir and no sir with his coaches, so they started calling him "Military Dude”. In high school it got shortened to just “military” among his teammates and opponents and then got shortened even more to Milly, which is actually what he prefers to go by now."
Raye is paired with Marcus Johnson at wide receiver to give quarterback Tanner Garry two dangerous weapons on the outside. The two have combined for 599 yards and seven touchdowns in their first two games. When you add in Marcus Martin, one of the best defensive players in DII football, Slippery Rock becomes a real sleeper threat in the PSAC. This week's upset confirmed that notion, both in the eyes of DII football and in the Slippery Rock locker room.
"We can go as far as we want to go," Raye said. "As long as we focus on the little things. Stick together, camaraderie, this brotherhood we have going on, the only team that can stop us is us. I don’t think any other team can.”
Basketball, football, dancing and spin moves. What else makes Milly Raye one of the most exciting receivers in DII football?
Favorite football movie: Longest Yard. A bunch of guys that were expected to lose, meanwhile they end up winning.
What’s in your headphones pregame: Kind of a shuffle. My favorite song is Radioactive by Imagine Dragons.
Pregame meal: I’m actually a vegetarian. I like to get potatoes. Hash browns in the morning, I love those.
Favorite football team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite players growing up: Right now it’s Antonio Brown. Other than the plays he makes on the field, I like his work ethic. Before it was Hines Ward. When I started my freshman year, I wore No. 86. On the team I was known as a possession receiver, on third down, when we needed a first down, the ball was in my hands. He smiled after every play, whether he got hit hard or whatever. I try to do the same thing.
Where does Big Ben rank in all time quarterbacks: Oh yeah, he’s up there. Youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Just the way he stands in the pocket and takes hits, he still gets up on the field and does his thing.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan: Not too much Game of Thrones. I do watch a show like Game of Thrones called Last Kingdom. It’s about Vikings.
Favorite cartoon: The network is definitely Cartoon Network. I liked Courage the Cowardly Dog, Dexter, I liked it all.