Although I admit I do watch most player’s highlight packages online before I talk to guys, I usually don’t put much stock in what I see. They have their place, of course, but I watch mostly to get a feel…
Although I admit I do watch most player’s highlight packages online before I talk to guys, I usually don’t put much stock in what I see. They have their place, of course, but I watch mostly to get a feel for where they typically line up and what type of role they played on the team that year. Sometimes I can’t help but notice a guy who stands out. That was the case when I let highlights roll. Most of the six minutes of video show Raines racking up pancake block after pancake block. With the interest he has already received from college programs – colleges have noticed too.’
Raines and his Woodbury Royals’ teammates started slowly but played well in the second half of the season. They won five straight games before falling in the first round of the playoffs.
“Once we got that first win, we got rolling,” Raines said. “We just didn’t play well in the playoffs. As our offensive line got experience, we started to play better and could run the football. Our quarterback played well in the second half off the season too.”
Raines racked up some impressive post-season awards.
“My season went well,” Raines said. “I was happy to receive some All-Metro and All-State awards.”
Raines started the entire year on offense and was a part-time defensive player.
“I started the first two games on defense because of an injury,” the junior said. “Once the regular guy came back, I just played defense in different situations. I would play about a quarter a game on defense.”
Raines started all season at center, but it was not a role in which he was familiar.
“Center is a new position for me,” Raines explained. “The steps you take for guard and center are pretty much the same, but it took a while to get the snaps down. I would go in during the summer and get in some snaps with my quarterbacks every day. It wasn’t much different once I got the pads on. I am quick and am good with my feet. I have good hands.”
The position change was initiated in the off-season.
“My coaches just thought moving to center would be best for me in college and would be best for the team so we could have one guy taking on the nose guard instead of having to double team all the time.”
New to the position of center, Raines was not new to the varsity roster.
“I played guard my freshman and sophomore year,” said Raines – who in his spare time likes to play basketball with his friends. “I have been starting on varsity since half-way through my freshman year.”
Moving to center wasn’t the only change for Raines.
“I hadn’t played defense since freshman year,” Raines explained. “The transition to defensive tackle was smooth. As a freshman, I thought I was a better defensive player. I think my strengths are taking up space, staying low, and letting my linebackers make plays.”
In addition to working on getting bigger, faster, and stronger, Raines has been focusing on a specific set of skills this offseason.
“I have been working on my explosiveness off the ball and working on my agility moving from side to side,” Raines – who expects to start at center with some additional time on defense – said. “I am working out this winter. My workouts focus on bench, clean, squat, and deadlift. I will be in track this spring. This will be my first year in track. A lot of the football players are in track, so I thought I would try. I think it will help me with football.”
Raines will also be busy with colleges this spring and summer.
“Recruiting is going good. I have game day invites to North Dakota, South Dakota State, and North Dakota State. I have a Junior Day invite to SDSU.”
Most of the schools project the 6’1″ 255-pound junior to play offensive line in college.
“Some of them say they like how I use my hands. Some have said they like my quickness and how I get off the ball, move my feet, and finish my blocks downfield.”
Finishing blocks downfield – if you don’t believe him – check out the tape.