East Jefferson’s Deshawn Raymond commits to TCU _lowres

East Jefferson football player DeShawn Raymond

Raymond, a senior cornerback at East Jefferson, is one of the area’s top recruits. He has three interceptions this season. He recently committed to TCU. East Jefferson (6-4), the defending Class 4A state champions, travels to play Crowley (8-2) on Friday in the opening round of the playoffs.

You recently committed to TCU, choosing the Horned Frogs over LSU, Mississippi State and Nebraska. What made you choose the Horned Frogs?

It’s a great school. They are big on academics and the classes are small, so that played a big part. I can see myself getting early playing time, especially with Kevin White leaving. That’s a spot for me. And I was coached here under (former EJ coach Nick Saltaformaggio), he was a head coach coaching defense, and that is how (TCU) coach (Gary) Patterson is. There’s nothing like getting coached up by your head coach.

You are enrolling in January. What made you decide to go early?

I know their defense isn’t easy to learn. I want to get there so I can have everything down, so I can be ahead of all the freshmen that come in.

How does it feel knowing your high school days are coming to an end?

It’s crazy. When I was a freshman, I remember all the seniors telling me that the time goes by fast and telling me to enjoy high school while you can. I was thinking they just were saying that because they were seniors. Now I’m at that point, and I see what they meant. Time doesn’t wait for anybody.

How tough has it been trying to repeat after losing so many seniors off last year’s undefeated team?

It’s real tough. We had a lot of weight on our shoulders trying to live up to the hype. We had to get used to a new head coach and a new defensive coordinator. We had a lot of young guys who had to step up. We are finally getting comfortable. We feel good going into the playoffs. Our record wasn’t as good as last year, but we’re in it now and anything can happen in the playoffs.

You have three interceptions this year, but they don’t throw to your side much do they?

No, they don’t. I hate it. That’s why I’m going to the Big 12 (laugh).

What makes a good defensive back?

Work ethic. You can’t just go to practice and expect to be great. You have to do stuff on your own. I try to take advantage of my length and long arms.

Who’s the best receiver you’ve faced?

The No. 1 receiver in the nation, Tyron Johnson (Warren Easton). When you are checking Tyron Johnson, you really have to have your technique down to check him.

Why do you wear No. 7?

When I was in middle school, I wore No. 4, but it wasn’t available. Seven was the only number that was open. But then I started watching Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, and they did great with No. 7 so I love it now. I’m going to wear it in college too.

Who is your favorite NFL player?

Richard Sherman

What’s your pregame ritual?

I listen to a lot of Chief Keefe, and I think of all the big plays I am going to make and watch Richard Sherman highlights and try to imitate him.

Where do see yourself in 10 years?

After the NFL, I see myself being a part of the TCU staff.

TCU was ranked No. 4 in the football playoff rankings Tuesday night. What did you think about that?

I see they are a team of greatness, and that’s what I like.

Rod Walker