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May 28, 2011

Raymond is a Tiger

The rapid ascent of East Jefferson defensive back Derrick Raymond onto the college recruiting scene reached a new high Saturday.

Raymond, who began the month of May off the recruiting radar and without a scholarship offer, ended his recruiting process when the 6-foot-2, 175-pound cornerback received a scholarship offer to LSU and promptly committed to LSU football coach Les Miles.

"I talked to coach Miles when I got there and he told me he wanted to talk before I left," Raymond said of Saturday's Bayou Recruiting Picnic at LSU. "On our way out he asked me what I would do if he offered me a full scholarship. I told him I'm coming. He started smiling and laughing."

Raymond provides LSU with its 10th overall commitment and ninth from an in-state prospect. He's also the second projected cornerback from the New Orleans area, joining Dwayne Thomas of O.P. Walker.

"They know I can play both positions (safety or corner) but they would like for me come in and play corner because they think that's where I would be best at," Raymond said.

Raymond's story has gained steam in recent weeks before the events of Saturday unfolded and thus brought an abrupt halt to one of the state's biggest mysteries.

Raymond played at Baton Rouge's Lee High as a freshman, transferred to Port Allen as a sophomore where he didn't participate in varsity sports. He then moved back to his native New Orleans to live with his grandmother and enrolled at East Jefferson in January of 2010.

While he was ineligible to play varsity sports for an entire calendar year Raymond played on the junior varsity football team and practiced with the varsity where football coach Nick Saltaformaggio immediately recognized his ability.

"He was easily our best player," he said.

Raymond was able to display his talents during the recently completed outdoor track season where he won both the Class 4A state sprint championships in the 100 (10.52) and 200 (21.51). He also anchored the Warriors to a fifth place in the 400-meter dash and fourth place overall finish in the meet.

The combination of the state track meet results, coupled with an eye-opening show in the Under Armour Combine in New Orleans, opened the door for a flood of scholarship offers with Nebraska becoming the first school to jump on board.

Saltaformaggio said that Raymond received in the area of 45 scholarships this month alone but it was the 46th that resonated with him the most.

"That was my dream college," Raymond said. "It's LSU that's all I've got to say."

Raymond was on campus during a spring practice but his second trip to LSU on Saturday gave him a different perspective of the campus and facilities following a tour of each. Once he spent time talking with assistant coaches Frank Wilson and Ron Cooper, along with getting to know some of the other prospects, he was ready to make up his mind.

Miles pushed him over the edge with a scholarship offer.

"I did want to wait but I saw that's where I want to be," Raymond said. "It's crazy. It hasn't kicked in yet."

Raymond said he plans to take part in LSU's summer camp next week but doesn't anticipate having to look around at any more schools.

"I feel like I've found my spot," Raymond said.


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