By Barry Allen
LendingTree Bowl Media Relations Director
MOBILE – Zedrick Raymond is living proof that you can go home again.
The Miami sophomore defensive back and special teams’ standout will lead the Redhawks against Louisiana in the 21st annual LendingTree Bowl on Monday, Jan. 6.
Raymond played locally at Murphy High School.
“We played our high school games at Ladd (Peebles Stadium),” Raymond said following Friday’s workout in the South Alabama Indoor Facility. “This was my home field. It feels great. I get to relive that experience and bring a new experience with me. I’ve been to a couple of colleges and now I’m back home playing here.”
He said he was shocked to find out he’d be playing a bowl in his hometown.
“I actually did not know,” Raymond said. “My mom called me and she brought that excitement to me. It’s a blessing to be in this position. There are 40 bowls nationwide and the one bowl we get, I come back to my hometown with Miami. It was a blessing.”
The route Raymond took back home was a long road one filled with many obstacles.
Raymond began his career at Division II Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss. He redshirted in his first season in 2015. He played in nine games as redshirt freshman in 2016, where he recorded 25 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one pass breakup.
After two seasons, he left Delta State and transferred to Independence (Kanas) Community College. He recorded 27 tackles and ranked fourth in the nation with six interceptions.
“A lot of kids in his situation never get to college,” Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. “He is a great example for all sorts of kids out there that don’t have it the easiest you just have to keep plugging away. He never stopped his journey. He had every reason to, but he just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and he finally got to Division I. He becomes a starter and gets a MAC championship. It’s an incredible story. He is a great example for what sports can do for you, but also what he has done for himself.”
Raymond found a home in Oxford, Ohio and has excelled the last two seasons with the Redhawks. He played and started all 12 games in 2018. He recorded 37 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception and one forced fumble. He has started all 13 games this season had has 28 tackles and six pass breakups. He also plays on three different special teams units.
“This season was a growing season,” Raymond said. “I went through a lot this season off the field. On the field, I felt like I made some mistakes and learned from those mistakes and I learned a lot about myself. “
His biggest task on Monday night might not be the Louisiana offense, but finding enough tickets for the game.
“There are a lot of people coming to the game,” Raymond said. “I had to buy 20 extra tickets. It will be fun.”