COMMITED: Jayson Raines- Stanford University


COMMITTED: Jayson Raines – Stanford University

Offers: Stanford, Brown, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Columbia, Dartmouth, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, Kent State, Maryland, UMass, Miami, UPenn, UPitt, Princeton, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, William & Mary, Yale. 

I took some time to sit down with Class of 2021 Senior, Jayson Raines, to talk about his recent commitment to play Division I Football at Stanford University.

What made you choose Stanford over other schools, particularly the Ivy League schools that you turned down in favor of Stanford? 

I felt that Stanford was the best fit for me, both academically and football-wise. Academically because it’s one of the top universities in the world, something that will set up me for my future, and football-wise because it’s a Pac-12 school out in California that runs a West Coast offense. The coach also likes to use receivers of my size, so I felt Stanford was the best decision for me. 

Walk us through the recruitment process, and how you narrowed your choices down. 

The recruitment process was pretty wild in my opinion. Initially it was a bit slow-going, like it usually is for most recruits. It wasn’t until camp season and when I started to post my stuff on Twitter that I blew up a little bit. That’s when it started to get crazy; Schools coming to our school everyday, getting called out of class, getting invited to games, visits, calls with coaches, texts, emails. It was a lot, you know. It’s pretty fun in the process but I also realized that I’d have to narrow down my choices considerably. I tried to look mainly at school where I would fit the best, and where I would be utilized the best, both academically and athletically. That’s pretty much how I figured out my top eight, there were some Ivy League schools, and top five football schools, and a lot of schools that were interested in me. You don’t really want to go to a school that’s not interested in you, but those schools were really interested in me. 

How did you and your family feel when you received your first athletic scholarship to play Division I Football? How did they feel when you committed to your final choice? 

It was amazing! It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. I worked so hard and there were many times in the process where you think that nothing really is going to happen and you’re scared and doubtful. When Rutgers first called Saturday morning it was amazing, it was a blessing, it was a dream come true. They felt very blessed and thankful that God has blessed me with this opportunity. They were just very happy. 

How important was academics in your college selection process, considering that Stanford excels both academically and athletically?

Very important. Even if you make it to the NFL, it’s going to be a small part of your life, so what you do at college is going to help benefit you no matter what. That’s why I looked for academically prestigious colleges like the Ivy’s and other top ranked universities. I made sure that the schools I was choosing would set me up for the rest of my life with opportunities both on and off the field. 

Do you think you are prepared to live on the opposite side of the United States?

I don’t know if anybody’s really ready to move 3,000 miles across the country, but it’s something that I’m starting to prepare for, realizing that I’m gonna be in a three hour time zone difference. That’s definitely interesting because it could be 10 p.m. right here and 7 p.m. in California. I know I’m gonna have to adjust to that and get used to the change.

How did COVID-19 affect your recruitment process? Has your school said how COVID-19 will affect the upcoming season?

Oh it definitely dealt blows to the recruitment process, not just mine but everybody’s. Starting in March, I remember that the day everything shut down in New Jersey was two days before my Vanderbilt visit. They called me telling me to cancel my flight, my reservations, because they had shut down their campus. After that, almost every other college shut down, which was a pretty bad blow considering I still had at least ten colleges left to visit at that time. It was really hard because I couldn’t see the coaches, the coaches couldn’t see me, and they couldn’t get that face-to-face recruiting. This really hurt with some of the schools that were recruiting me because they couldn’t really tell if I was actually 6’3” or if I was lying, as some players do. I had to use a lot of social media to connect with coaches that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet. Despite this, I’m glad I was able to get to the position that I am in. 

What do you think you bring to Stanford, both academically and athletically? More specifically, what major do you intend to pursue at Stanford?

I think I bring a complete receiver that they need and they like, being 6’3”, athletic, fast, strong, can jump, which is pretty much a model for them. I also believe that I am a natural leader that will fit right into the Stanford man model and help further their tradition. Right now I’m looking at majoring in Economics. 

What are your plans for the future? 

Hopefully, my goal is to make the NFL, it’s always been a dream of mine. Even after that I would like to either start a business or hold a high ranking position at a major business so that I can provide for my family. 

Do you have any advice for other high school athletes?

First off, you always have to hit the books and stay in school. No matter where you are, that’s always going to affect you. I also advise them to work hard both on and off the field. On the field, never stop grinding because there is always a spot in your game that could use improvement.  Listen to your coaches, and put yourself out there to potential colleges. It’s never going to hurt you to reach out to potential college coaches. I also recommend that they don’t get discouraged, whether that be because they aren’t offered D1 scholarships or other reasons, because there is always a good fit for you. All in all, just don’t stop grinding.