Enjoyed chatting with Eastwood’s Jaden Rayford at a spring football practice session this morning. Early morning and chilly, but he was closely watching practice.
Jaden has worked hard this past winter and now is 6’0-205 and much stronger. Mostly played running back in Eastwood’s wing-t powerful offense. More than likely, he will move to a strong safety position on the next level. This, his senior year, being a leader will be huge for him. He showed signs of this over the winter.
On the football field, I like his durability and overall toughness. Runs hard and has good balance. Good explosion and burst. Last year he long jumped just over 22 feet. Closes well on the ball. Needs to improve running mechanics to carry the ball in college. An excellent open field tackler. Explosive.
Most impressed today with his focus on becoming a better football player and with his attitude toward playing on the next level.
He has killed the weight room. Gotten bigger, stronger, and faster. Gained good weight and strength. Working on some different sprint events for up coming track season. Also will be looking to better his 22 feet effort in the long jump.
Told me that he has a 2.7 GPA and just got his test score back. Jaden scored a 20. Favorite class is chemistry. Wants to major in business and work with computers.
When I asked him how many schools talked to him about playing defense, he said that just about all. I believe that he is starting to “get it.” Most running backs in high school want to continue running the ball in college. But – being a D1 college RB is just so tough. Plus, like I told him. Most schools take maybe 2 RB’s, but a lot more OLB/DB type players.
Jaden had certain special skills as a freshman. I could see them. He improved on those natural skills his 10th grade year. Enough to help lead Eastwood to a State Runner-up in football. Last fall he was even better and was starting to play better on the defensive side.
I kidded him today about buying in to playing DB and maturing as a student and as a football player. Now getting the “offers,” and love from the college coaches that he deserves.
He mentioned Bowling Green, Toledo, Ball State. Eastern Michigan, as some early offers. Also said that he was going to the Michigan State summer camp. A developmental player, but with much potential.
Eastwood plays Division 5 high school football. They play in a mostly rural environment. Level of competition will always be a concern for college coaches. It is what it is; right or wrong, it is reality.
Jaden has jumped out at the D1 level football coaches. D1 college coaches see the talent, the toughness, and the desire to compete on the highest college stage. I see the improved attitude and focus. He should be fine!