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Clemson Football star raising eleven-year-old brother
If you're into college football, Ray Ray McElrathbey looks pretty good. Rivals.com ranked him as the 29th best athlete in the nation out of high school. On top of everything that goes along with a football scholarship, he's pursuing a degree in sociology. Plus, he's raising his eleven-year-old brother.
Yep, that's right, Ray Ray has custody of his younger brother Fahmarr. Ray Ray's mother has been battling a drug problem while his father is dealing with gambling issues. The boys have spent time in foster care and Ray Ray has, in the past, lived with coaches and mentors in order to stay focused on the future. Now that Fahmarr has come to live with him, he has added the role of parent to his resume. He has cut out what he calls "material things" so that the pair can live on his scholarship funds. He skips the "college life" in order to help Fahmarr with his schoolwork. He's learned to shop and cook.
Ray Ray expects to keep custody of Fahmarr throughout the younger boy's teenage years. While caring for his brother does make life more challenging, it has also made it easier in some ways. "When my brother was not here, I still worried about him," Ray Ray said. "I was doing the (parental) things I'm doing now but from a distance. Since he's here, that makes it easier." Worried might be a bit of an understatement. "You didn't see him at Christmas dinner in Orlando crying in my arms because of his brother," Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said, remembering the team's holiday celebration.
Unfortunately, NCAA rules currently prohibit Ray Ray from accepting help with his responsibilities towards his brother. The university, however, has applied for a waiver so that he can get some assistance -- such as having a coach's wife pick up Fahmarr from school. Regardless of what the NCAA decides, he'll continue taking care of his brother. When he was talking about the prospect of getting custody, Ray Ray told his coach and friends that he "wasn't going to put him back in a foster home. I have been in 'the system,' as I call it, and it is not good. This is better."
What can I say? This kid's so nice, they named him twice.