Father’s business rejuvenated thanks to son’s football scholarship

Photo from Signal Archives

From between a rock and hard place, a father gets a new opportunity. When Herman McCray III’s son committed to Georgia State on a full football scholarship, he moved to Atlanta in February 2018, four months before his son did.

During January back home in West Palm Beach, Florida, McCray was homeless and sleeping inside his car after his landlord refused his rent and put the house on Section 8. His family-owned business, HustleMan’s BBQ “Wibs” was not doing the best at the time.

Herman McCray IV’s commitment to Georgia State lifted some weight off his father’s shoulder. The business is having tremendous success in the McCray’s new home of Atlanta and McCray lives in a four-story condo looking over Georgia Stadium.

“When Georgia State gave us the opportunity for Herm to play football here, that put a lot of confidence in me to go ahead and make a move to Atlanta before Herm got here,” McCray said.

I got set up with my business so I can make every football game because I never miss his football games no matter what. So I got here early so I can have my seat. And then my business took off and started doing well as soon as I got here,” McCray said.

The McCrays have huge plans for their careers in Atlanta. McCray IV is beginning his path to the NFL Draft and McCray III is continuing to grow the business.

“Lonzo Ball’s daddy ain’t got nothing on me,” McCray III said. “I think our recipe is just a little bit more natural, from the heart. We bringing that South Florida swag up here to the A.”

McCray III goes by HustleMan because he works seven days per week and has seven jobs. Other occupations besides being a restaurant owner, McCray is an actor, comedian, handyman, apparel creator and both a music and video engineer.

“I had to work seven different job every day to try to make it. They call it jack-of-all trades, master of none, but I mastered it,” McCray said.

McCray IV is a 6’4, 230 tight end from Oxbridge Academy with versatility just like his father. His father introduced football to McCray IIII at five years old to keep him on the right track in West Palm Beach despite several influences that could have changed that. He blossomed into a talented and humble player,

“It was kind of rough sometimes. It was a lot of shootings but you had to keep your head on straight, not get distracted by getting into all this gang activity and all that. So football was the way to go for me and my dad helped with that and I got help from my mom too,” McCray IV said.

McCray experienced controversy at the end of his sophomore year in high school. He suffered a crushing season ending ACL injury before his junior campaign began.

“That was in the spring when all the college coaches were coming and I ain’t get a chance to perform. That was heartbreaking because I didn’t know what to expect from some schools. I got my first offer and then just after that I tore my ACL,” he said.

His father was right by his side after the injury and the surgery. McCray IIII said the toughest part was the mental challenge, knowing that he couldn’t help his teammates. That wouldn’t stop him from bouncing back. Persistency, dedication and taking sacrifices ran through his blood after the injury much like it did in his father’s after becoming homeless.

He returned as a senior and had the best season of his career. His size allowed him to play a lot of defense and he had 79 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 150 receiving yards. In prior seasons his team struggled getting past the second round of the Florida high school playoffs, but they made it to the championship game this time.

McCray went out in style, catching a huge 17-yard touchdown to bring his team within seven points in the fourth quarter, but they would fall. The game was played in Camping World Stadium, the last place Georgia State played as well, winning the AutoNation Cure Bowl over Western Kentucky, the first bowl game in program history.

His dad is and will always be a source of inspiration.

“It just shows me that I gotta keep grinding as hard as he do because he goes hard to support me so imma go hard to support him in the long run because he made a lot of sacrifices,” McCray IV said.

McCray is willing to gamble on his product and let’s prospective buyers try it for free before placing an order. The signature sauces are Daddy’s Traditional Sauce and HustleMan sauce. Combine them both and you have what’s listed on the menu as Twisted Bbq Sauce.

“We got a lot of confidence in our product. People come try it before they buy it. They come from all over, from North Carolina, they come from New York, they come from Russia, they come from everywhere. We also cook for the NFL’s Super Bowl every year. We’re the official tailgating staff,” McCray said.

President President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Jim Harbaugh, Mark Richt, Mark McKinley and J.J Hickson are amongst the most famous patrons to have the wibs. The wibs made their way onto the campuses of the University of Michigan, The Ohio State University and Florida A&M University.

McCray is now in the Georgia State and Georgia State Stadium area “all the time” and delivers.

“Everybody done had my wibs. Try it before you buy it. I’m by far the best to ever cook the wib,” McCray said.

“All they (students) have to do is call me at 561-667-9997 and tell me you’re from Georgia State and I can give you a Georgia State discount. You can contact me [on Instagram @HustleManBbqWibsAtlanta. I do parties, catering and events all around the city.”

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