Ray McElrathbey: What to Know About the Clemson Player Who Inspired 'Safety'

Ray McElrathbey has been in the spotlight recently thanks to the Disney+ film Safety. The movie focuses on the life of McElrathbey, who takes in his younger brother while attending Clemson University and playing on the football team. The story gained national attention as McElrathbey became Fahmarr's legal guardian due to their mother being a victim of drug addiction.

McElrathbey is an Atlanta native who played for Clemson from 2005-2007. He redshirted his first season and then played defensive back and special teams in 2006. During that season, McElrathbey spent time as a wide receiver and running back. 2006 was also the same season when he took in Fahmarr and it led to him winning the Keith Jackson Award of Excellence on the ESPN College Football All-America show. McElrathbey also won the 2006 FedEx/FWAA Courage Award, an award he received at the 2007 Orange Bowl.

Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said to the Post and Courier when asked about McElrathbey and the film Safety: "I would have no reservations about having a discussion with him or any player. It would be no different than any other player I've had and had conversations with. He seems to be doing really, really well. If he really needed that encouragement I wouldn't hesitate, but it seems like he's made some really good decisions without me."

McElrathbey left Clemson and then transferred to Howard after suffering a season-ending injury in 2007. Before leaving for Howard, Bowden offered McElrathbey an assistant coaching position while pursuing his undergraduate degree. He played for the Howard Bison for one year while he attended school. He finished his football career at Mars Hill in 2010.


"It's a surreal experience," McElrathbey said during a press junket for Safety. "It's a wonderful experience more than anything. It was something I've been praying for one would say. I'm blessed and excited to have the opportunity to be there with all the people that are assembled to make this cast and crew to be a part of my life forevermore." McElrathbey has his own foundation called Ray Ray Safety Net Foundation, which helps children who are dealing with trauma. He has also been doing various promotions for Safety, which started streaming on Disney+ earlier this month.