Jayson Raines: A Shining Star on the Field and in the Classroom


Jayson Raines #8 makes a spectacular grab on a 3rd down conversion over a defenders head.

For junior Jayson Raines, football has always been a part of his life. Although he started playing competitively in third grade for the West Orange PAL Mustangs, Raines watched and played from an even younger age. 


“My dad played football so he always helped me to play, and I used to watch football all the time- my friends too,” Raines said. 


Raines is the Mountaineers’ star wideout. This year alone, he’s already tallied 35 receptions for 486 yards and 9 touchdowns. The 6’3, 185 lb pass catcher’s abilities are bolstered by his imposing physical frame.


“The strongest [part of my game] is probably my ability to use my size and go up and get the ball,” Raines said. “I’m able to jump over small defenders and attack the ball.”


The Mountaineers squad featuring Raines has gone 4-1 within the Super Essex Conference. Raines has had a resounding impact in these contests, and has enjoyed some of the best performances of his career. Games where he has surpassed 100 yards receiving have led to electrifying Mountaineer victories, specifically against Columbia (35-0) and Livingston (42-7).


Overall, the Mountaineers have gone 5-3 this season and recently enjoyed a bounceback (39-0) win over Bloomfield last Friday after two tough losses to East Orange and Passaic Tech.


In addition to Raines, West Orange also boasts the talents of running back Shakhi Carson, who delivered a 90 yard, two touchdown game against Bloomfield. The two, who have been teammates since third grade, have both received offers from UMASS. Raines is considering the idea of teaming up with Carson.


“That’s been a dream of ours since PAL. We’ve always talked about playing in college together, and the fact that it could happen is pretty surreal and amazing,” Raines said. “And I would think about it.”


The three star receiver has also garnered interest from other colleges as well. In addition to UMASS, Raines has received offers from Rutgers and UPENN, and has been in contact with multiple other programs. As part of his recruitment, he was invited to the Penn State “White Out” game.


“Easily the most impressive game I’ve been to has been Penn State, their white out game had 100,000 people. I was able to visit- that was pretty crazy.” Raines said.


In addition to being a star on the football field, Raines excels in the classroom. He has maintained a 4.2 GPA, enrolling in honors and AP level classes, all while juggling games, practices, and workouts.


“It’s not as hard as people think,” said Raines. “Usually right from practice you just have to get home, stay focused- because honestly if you were to stay focused as soon as you get home you’re going to get your work done.”


While maintaining his grades and managing daily training, Raines is always looking to the future, as his personal goals align with his team’s success.


“Of course win the state championship with my team. I want to get as many people as possible on my team to get offers. And so for me I probably just want to commit and sign to a school and [achieve] first team all state”