SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a strong junior season in which he earned All-Mountain West honorable mention honors for the second consecutive season, former Utah State tight end Dax Raymond declared for the NFL Draft.
For a lot of people, it was a shocking decision. The Aggies had just come off the best season in the program’s history with an 11-2 record and a final ranking of 22nd in the AP poll. While head coach Matt Wells was hired away by Texas Tech, Utah State re-hired established head coach Gary Andersen and star quarterback Jordan Love was set to return as well. Still, Raymond decided to make the jump to the big leagues.
“I loved Utah State so much, it was so much fun. It was really hard to think maybe I’ve leaving my friends behind. But I think anyone that was in my situation would do the same thing knowing that this has been a dream since I can remember. If I have an opportunity to go for it, I’m going to go for it,” said Raymond in a one-on-one interview with KSL Sports’ Jeremiah Jensen.
After all, playing in the NFL has been Raymond’s dream for as long as he can remember.
Talking with Jensen, Raymond described playing football in his childhood home, jumping into couches and making diving catches with his older brother. He was also recently going through an old journal that he wrote in the third grade and found a drawing he made of an football, complete with the NFL logo.
“It’s been a dream my whole life and it’s unbelievable to think it’s close and it can become a reality real pretty soon,” said Raymond.
Lessons Learned From LDS Mission
His journey to the pros truly began when Raymond was a wide receiver at Timpview High. He starred for the Thunderbirds, earning first-team all-state honors as a senior in addition to a being an all-region basketball player.
From there, he took a break from playing to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia. He came back from his mission as “a toothpick” and credits his strength and conditioning coaches at Utah State for helping him grow into a 6-5, 250-pound NFL prospect.
While he made not have been playing much ball in Russia, Raymond feels that the mission was essential in helping him develop his character.
“I like to show that I am a more mature person because I had served an LDS mission, being two years older than the pack. I’ve heard some positive and some negative about it, being older, your timeline is a little shorter. But when I’ve had a chance to speak with them face to face, I can show my maturity and show that I can be a leader from day one,” said Raymond.
Too Excited To Sleep
With the NFL Draft less than a week away, Raymond’s excitement is building by the day. After a grueling process of going the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and Utah State’s pro day, he’s done all he can to prove himself. Now he can relax a bit.
He’s projected to be a mid-round pick, but he’s trying not to think too much about the possibilities. He’s just too excited.
“I try my hardest to not think about it because if I’m laying in bed and I start thinking about it, I can’t sleep. So I just try to stay busy and keep working and not think about it too much until it happens,” said Raymond.
The NFL Draft will take place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.