SALT LAKE CITY - Over 60 players braved mid-week hassles to congregate at Judge Memorial High School…
Utah Prep Receiver Ready for the Big Time?
Last year Cody Raymond was one of the top underclassmen receivers in the state of Utah. For head coach Alex Jacobson, speedy Cody Raymond was everything he asked for and much, much more. "He the kind of kid if the ball is up there he basically expects it's his," said Coach Jacobson. "He's going to fight for it no matter what. He's not a 6-3 kid, but he plays like he is. He believes that every ball that is thrown to him is his, and that's probably what separates him from every other kid. He's a coach's dream kind of a kid, and if you tell him to do something he'll do it. He lifts at 5:30 in morning ever since the Christmas break. He's dedicated and a hard worker both on and off the field." "Right now I'm around 5-10 or 5-11," said Raymond. "I benched 275 last Saturday and then my power clean is 265. My squat is 475 right now. We go to the weight room every day at 5:30 in the morning, and we have a good weight program at Jordan. My fastest forty time is a 4.56 and my vertical is a 31.5 as my best. I'm not sure on my shuttle time. "I play wide receiver on offense, and on defense I play everywhere. I've played every position on defense except defensive tackle. I played outside linebacker, free safety, cornerback, middle linebacker and all that stuff. I also do punt and kick return too." Of all the positions Raymond has played the past two years, his favorite is wide receiver. He expects to play wide receiver at the college level. "I've played running back my whole life coming up through little league, and about two years ago my coach said that I could probably play varsity if I switched to receiver," said Raymond. "So I switched, and I've just loved playing there ever since. You know, you don't have to deal with all the middle linebackers and can just go straight to the cornerbacks and do your stuff and take it to the house." The first year Raymond switched to wide receiver he received all-state honors. The talented receiver followed up his sophomore success with a junior campaign that earned him back-to-back all-state honors. "The father of my quarterback Sean Taylor is the one that kept all of our stats and I hang out a lot with Sean so he was always letting me know," said Raymond. "My sophomore year, I had just over 1100 yards [receiving] and 11 touchdowns, and for my junior year I had 1550 yards and 15 touchdowns. I was first team all-state in both papers for both my sophomore and junior years. I was also first team all-region for my sophomore and junior years." On defense, Raymond also racked up a few noteworthy stats. "I played outside linebacker and free safety and career-wise I have five interceptions from my sophomore and junior years," Raymond said. "I had three this year and two during my sophomore year. On defense I don't know how many tackles I had, but on special teams I ran one punt return back last year during the first game of the year." Raymond was invited as a junior to the Army All-American Combine this past year. Apparently, he fared rather well against some of the nation's top cornerback prospects. He was also recently invited to the Air QB7 camp, which features some of the top quarterbacks and receivers from four regions nation wide. "I went to the Army All-American Combine in San Antonio," said Raymond. "I did pretty well and we went up one-on-one against some of the best cornerbacks from across the country. I did really good against the cornerbacks." "He did very well against a lot of the other kids that were down there that were bigger than him or at least his size," said Coach Jacobson. "He was invited to the U.S. Army Bowl, and they have an Air QB 7 camp where they invite the top QB's and receivers from about four different places across the country, and he has been invited the western region. They recognized that he's a solid kid. He has a good GPA and is a very good recruitable kid." For his on-field accomplishments during his junior season, Raymond has gained quite a bit of attention from both in state and out of state universities. "I've been getting a lot of looks from BYU and Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Colorado and Oregon," said Raymond. "Mainly right now BYU and Texas Tech are my top two, and Colorado is probably up there in my top three as well." Despite the many universities looking at Raymond, BYU and Texas Tech are the two front runners for his services if offered a full ride scholarship. "First of all, BYU and Texas Tech run a spread offense, and I'll play receiver at the next level, so I think I would really fit in well at both those two schools," said Raymond. "They like to throw a lot of the underneath passes and generally like kids that can find soft spot in the zone or make the short catches on third downs. I'm a fundamentally sound kid and those are the things I can do." Not only does Raymond feel he would be a good fit in the Texas Tech offense, he's also been down the campus for camps. "I went down to their camp last year and they've invited me down to their Junior Day this year," said Raymond. "They were making sure I was willing to leave the state, which I am. They didn't want to waist their time on me if I wasn't willing to leave, but once they realized I was willing to come down there they just said that they really think that I would fit in well with their offense. They haven't offered me yet but I'm going down to their Junior Day and they've been talking to Coach Jacobson and they sound pretty serious. We'll see how it plays out." In regards to BYU, Raymond also feels he would be a perfect fit in their west coast offense. "I like BYU a lot and they're just right around the corner from my house," said Raymond. "I really like their offense too and like how they throw the ball 40-50 times a game. I really like how they run their program and how they use their receivers that are a lot like me. Guys like Nathan Meikle and Austin Collie who are the type of kids that are like me as a player, so that's what I like about how BYU uses their receivers. They said the same thing about me as well." Raymond gave BYU a copy of his highlight tape, and since then, BYU Coach Brandon Doman has spoken with Coach Jacobson. I gave my highlight tape to them and Brandon Doman called my coach back and came down and talked to him because he couldn't talk to me because it was the dry period," said Raymond. "He just told Coach Jacobson that I would be perfect for their offense and that they're really interested. They told Coach Jacobson that they're really serious about me and that they want me to come down to their camps and Junior Day and all that. Colorado invited me to their Junior Day as well." "My buddy Mike Leach from Texas Tech is recruiting him pretty heavily along with BYU, and Colorado," said Coach Jacobson. "He's also been getting a lot of mail from Oregon, but Texas Tech and BYU have done the best job of recruiting him. He will be an impact player for the team he plays for. I'll tell you what; we're sure going to find a way to get him the ball this year." So what does Raymond think about all the resent attention he's received from Texas Tech, BYU, Oregon and Colorado among others? "I think it's pretty cool because I could have options," said Raymond. "[Colorado's] linebacker's coach is the one that is in charge of our area, and he came down to our school the other day and told me to come down to their camp. They liked everything they heard about me and wanted to see me play in person. They want to see me run some routes and see how my hands are and all my intangibles. It's just a good feeling to know that you have opportunities somewhere and will have the chance to go play ball at the next level." Being LDS and with plans of serving a mission, Raymond was told by Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach that they would be fine with him leaving the program for two years. "I am LDS and I do plan on serving a mission for sure," Raymond said. "I talked to Mike Leach from Texas Tech and he said his wife is LDS. He said his linebacker is a return missionary so he doesn't mind either, and it's good that coaches are more understanding about it." Raymond is also excited to know that BYU is seriously looking at him as a wide receiver for the 2008 recruiting class. He feels BYU is a place that provides a lot of what he is looking for at the college level, which could tilt BYU slightly in his favor. "I really like BYU, and they have a lot of what I'm looking for," said Raymond. "It's a school that promotes good values, and I know it's kind of cliché for me to say you want team discipline and stuff, but that is what I'm looking for. I want a coach that has control over his team. I want to be on a team that is disciplined and respectful, and I want to be with a coaching staff that when you're on the field they'll get it done with you. Coach Mendenhall is that type of coach that won't ask you to go through things that he's not willing to go through himself. I have a lot of respect for Coach Mendenhall because of this. It's very noticeable that he wouldn't expect his players to do things that he himself isn't willing to do, and the players respect him for that and the way he goes about his life. "Academics are a big thing at BYU and they take pride in that there, and I like how they take pride in how the coaches push you and graduating all the players. I mean, let's be honest. Most of the players that play college football aren't going to be able to go into the NFL and the only thing you have to fall back on is your education. When coach's stress education that's a good thing because they're helping you with a fall back plan in case things don't work out for you at the next level after college football." Growing up in Utah, Raymond followed BYU's program last year and was excited to see how well the program did. He feels that BYU could possible contend for a BCS bowl game next year if all works out well. "I was really excited to see how BYU played this past year," said Raymond. "I think they could have a chance to crack the BCS Bowl like Boise State. They just lost by around 10 points to Boston College and Arizona. They lost to Boston College by six and to Arizona by three, so a combined nine points they lost in the two losses they had in the season. Then they run through the Mountain West Conference going undefeated and having that come back game against Utah. "It was just cool seeing all the intensity and how they went about it. It was just exciting watching how they played and then how they beat Oregon like they did in the Las Vegas Bowl game. Jonny Harline should be a high draft pick this year and they have a lot of guys in the NFL. I watched the Cougars beat Oregon 38-8 and it was even 31-0 at one point until like the fourth quarter until Oregon finally got one in. It was a good game that showed they went against a Pac-10 team and handled them pretty good. They have a really good program down there that's on the rise if anything. It's some good recognition for the Mountain West Conference because sometimes people look down on the conference a little bit. They just showed that they can go play with that conference like Utah did a couple of years ago and BYU this year."
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