June 27, 2013

Raulerson talks trips, timeline

Tampa, Fla., offensive lineman Ray Raulerson is inching closer to making a college selection. He's been taking trips and focusing on ending his recruitment as of late. He's also been plenty focused on his high school team at Plant High School.

"I've just been going over the offseason program at my high school," Raulerson said. "Just taking trips to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Oklahoma State. I'm trying to take things easy and focus on getting better as a player. I'm also working toward my decision."

Raulerson had expectations heading into all three destinations. He admits that all three were about what he expected and his time in Knoxville was special. He enjoyed every minute he spent on Rocky Top.

"Tennessee is a lot like Gainesville," Raulerson said. "The whole town is huge on the football team and the downtown area and campus have the same feel. I liked everything about it. It was good to hang out with coach (Don) Mahoney and (Robert) Gillespie. The facilities were really impressive and I got to tour the business building. That's what I might major in."

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie is in charge of landing the talented lineman. Offensive line coach Don Mahoney is also playing a key role in that process as well. Tennessee needs offensive linemen in the 2014 class and the Vols' coaches have made that clear to the Sunshine State product.

"I talk to both of them about the same," Raulerson said. "They did a good job of recruiting my family. They really have similar recruiting styles. I was there with my parents and my two brothers and they liked it. They are losing several linemen and they tell me I could come in and compete for playing time. They say Tennessee is on the rise and that's pretty cool to me. I want a program that the coaches believe in."

Raulerson plans on making his commitment in the next three to four weeks. He's paid close attention to each visit as he looks for the school that meets his criteria that he's looking for.

"Playing time is important," Raulerson said. "Also the academic side is very important and I want a school with good facilities. I want to feel comfortable with the coaching staff and that feeling of stability."

It's a huge decision and he knows it. He's going to lean on those closest to him in the decision making process.

"I'm just going to go with my family and family friends that have influence on me," Raulerson said. "They just tell me to do what is best for me. They want me to choose a school that I'll be proud of and that I'll be successful at."

So what kind of player is that special school getting? The 6-foot-5 and 275-pound tackle believes his game will match up well wherever he lands.

"I would say that I move well," Raulerson said. "I'm really comfortable coming off the ball and just getting off the line with my push. I'm working hard on my run blocking. I'm a little better at pass blocking right now, but that's all developmental."

Rivals.com ranks Raulerson as a 3-star offensive tackle in the class of 2014.

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