We’re launching a new series at Stampede Blue that includes interviews with NFL draft prospects who may be on the Colts’ radar. Today, we speak with Utah State Tight End Dax Raymond. Raymond is a RS Junior who graduated early to play in the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago.
Although not the most productive tight end in college, Raymond has all the traits to be an excellent NFL player.
Career Stats: 72 catches for 873 yards and 3 touchdowns in 27 games.
Raymond interviewed exclusively with Stampede Blue to talk about his college career, the Senior Bowl, and why your NFL team should draft him in this upcoming draft.
ZH: You were a very productive player in high school, how did you end up at Utah State of all places?
DR: So, I grew up in Provo, Utah, if you know where that is— I could see BYU’s football stadium. I get asked a lot about that too. “You had such a great year your Senior year of high school, how come you didn’t go to BYU?” I wanted to go to BYU but they never offered me. So I went where I was offered.
Utah State was loyal and they respected me and they thought highly of me so I wanted to go to a team that actually wanted me. I ended up breaking the state record for receiving touchdowns my Senior year (after switching from Quarterback the season before) but by the time I did that teams had already offered people for my positions. Utah State offered me a scholarship as a tight end and they were loyal to me after I got back from my Mission so I went up there.
ZH: Yeah so I wanted to ask about that. You went on your mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints out of high school... How was that and where did you go?
DR: So I went to Russia... I was in the Russian Vladivostok Mission which is the far east Russia near China and Japan.... it’s Siberia. (Laughs) Yeah I was there for two years and it was a great experience. I think that is what shaped me into who I am today because I don’t think many 18-20 year olds have had experience where they go to another country and learn the culture and become one of them. I had to learn to do everything on my own and in the Russian way. I had to learn Russian, I had to work because we are there to work so I basically just worked for two years and I really just knew how to work hard and I took that work ethic into football.
ZH: So you spent all that time in Russia and had a couple bad injuries in college (back injury made him miss the 2016 season and missed games due to a hand injury in 2018). Through all that adversity you still got the Senior Bowl call, what was that like?
DR: Oh man that was just crazy just to think... to put it in that perspective like you said, I’ve been injured, I’ve been in Russia, I’ve been all over the place and now getting the chance to play at the Senior Bowl, it’s like, a huge reward to be honored to play in that game. Yeah, I was so hyped when I heard that. I’ve seen pictures and seen clips of the Senior Bowl and I just thought those are “the guys,” they are the Nation’s best right there. So, it has been a goal to be invited to that and yeah getting an invite was just crazy.
ZH: How was your overall Senior Bowl experience from the weigh-ins to the practices to the game, how was your entire week?
DR: (Laughs) I would describe it as a tornado. It was non-stop and I had no idea when or what was going on and I just remember wanting a nap but there was not one time to nap (laughs). Non-stop interviews and you go from interviews to practice and in between practice and film you have interviews and then psych testing and interviews and then you have the weigh-in where people look at you like you are a piece of meat (laughs). It was weird. But man it was so fun.
When it ended I couldn’t believe it was a week because we were so busy and every time I got in bed it felt like I blinked and it was morning and you were just going non-stop.
ZH: I noticed at Utah State you were used in a ton of ways, do you think that helps you translate to the NFL?
DR: Yeah absolutely. I feel like the more types of plays you’ve played as a player make you more comfortable with them. So yeah I was out in the slot, I was out as a receiver, I’d pull around with guards... I think it shows that I have a decent IQ to play different positions and understand the offense well enough to be able to switch positions and run plays as fast as we were running them.
ZH: Yeah that is a great transition into my next question.. At Utah State, you guys ran a fast, high tempo offense. Do you think that has prepared you better for the NFL?
DR: Yeah I mean, we never huddled so huddling all week at Senior Bowl was amazing. I loved huddling, it was very nice to have a huddle (laughs).
ZH: So another thing I noticed on your tape was that you got open a lot despite rarely getting the ball. Did that frustrate you at all?
DR: Yeah I mean its frustrating when you work hard and get open and you don’t get the ball— I think anyone that’s honest would say that— but we were winning games and if we are winning, I’m happy. I don’t wanna say that I’m mad when I have one catch and we smash the other team because I’m happy we won the game. So yeah I think anyone being honest would say it is frustrating but I think winning is the most important thing.
ZH: What is your top trait as a tight end prospect?
DR: I create mismatches. I can beat a linebacker on a route or I can size up on a safety where I’m bigger than them. I create mismatches in the passing game.
ZH: What Tight End do you compare your game most to in the NFL?
DR: I’ll go with Zach Ertz. I like how he is very effective in the passing game and how they use him and get him open but then he still can help in the running game which I can do as well.
ZH: Which is a better feeling; getting a pancake block or scoring a touchdown?
DR: Oh that’s a great question.... (long pause)..... It’s hard it depends on the person I’m pancaking (laughs). Probably a pancake block though.
ZH: Final question, in this historically deep tight end class, why should my team draft Dax Raymond?
DR: Another great question.. I’ll be able to help day one as a tight end as well as being willing to help on any special teams I can. I feel like I’m smart enough to learn a playbook fast and I’ll be able to help a team win games and all I need is for them to give me a chance and I’ll show them I can help. Whether it’s catching a ball, whether its blocking, or even running down on kick-offs, I’m going to be one of those guys who is willing to do anything he can to help a team win games. I just want to help win.