Photo Courtesy of Michael Smith

Raymond Boone’s long journey playing football leads him right to Terps

Photo Courtesy of Michael Smith

Raymond Boone, the 6-foot, 199-pound three-star safety from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland is quite the underdog.

Before Boone found his passion in football his mother, Margie Smith, attempted to put him in other sports, but he just didn’t seem to like any of them.

“Initially going in, he didn’t like any sports. We tried everything,” Smith said.

Smith was determined to find an outlet for her son to release all the energy he had as a child. She tried multiple sports but none of them worked, until she introduced him to football. She finally tried football and, once he liked it, enrolled him with the PG Chargers; a youth football team in his local neighborhood.

“The first couple of practices he sat and watched everybody,” Smith said.

Nevertheless, after realizing they weren’t going to allow him to quit, he participated and gave it his all in practice and he knew then that he loved football.  

While playing with the Chargers, he learned the basics of football as he was coached by head coach John Vessels.

With the Chargers, he would soon get his first concussion. Smith was very hesitant about allowing him to continue playing after this, but seeing how much Boone enjoyed football she allowed him to continue as long as he was taught how to maneuver to decrease the likelihood of concussions.

From then on, Vessels worked with Boone to teach him how to maneuver the football field and properly tackle.

Boone played with the Chargers for three years he then left to play for the Westlake Bulldogs to play on the national team, which proved to be more challenging.

Leading up to high school, Boone was recruited by local powerhouse DeMatha Catholic to play wide receiver. With big goals in mind, Boone was looking forward to joining DeMatha to help them continue to win championships.

However, his first year at DeMatha did not go well.

On the football field, Boone transitioned well, however, academically, the transition did not go well and Boone made the decision to leave DeMatha.

“Academically, he wasn’t going to be able to achieve what he needed,” Smith said.  

Luckily for Boone, he had the option of transferring to his local zone school Eleanor Roosevelt, a high school that has produced many top players in the DMV area. Most notably, Isaiah Prince who now plays for Ohio State and maybe a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

During Boone’s sophomore season at Roosevelt, he faced a possible career-ending injury. It was Oct. 17, 2015, when Roosevelt played Dr. Henry Wise Jr. High School where Boone suffered that gruesome injury, breaking his femur in two places.

Doctors told Boone that he would never be able to play again, but six months after the injury he started training for next season.

Although this injury was tough on Boone, he always kept his confidence high.

“I was able to play my whole junior year without missing a single game,” Boone stated.

Because he missed his majority of his sophomore year, Boone knew that his junior year was his year to shine.

And shine he did.

Boone had five interceptions on the defensive end with 38 catches for 699 yards and eight touchdowns on the offensive side of the field.

Due to this big year, Boone finally got the recognition he dreamed of since he was a child.

He received his first offer from the University of Pittsburgh. After this, Boone took off. In the summer of his junior year, he received 12 offers.

Some of these offers included Maryland, Virginia Tech, Kentucky and the University of North Carolina.

Although Boone received many offers, he knew that he had to be academically eligible to play in college. Therefore, Boone worked twice as hard as his other peers, making honor roll his entire junior year, which made his mother extremely proud.

On June 16th, Boone committed to Maryland, via his Twitter page.

“I chose Maryland because it was a big family feel,” Boone said. “I knew all the coaches for a while and they brought me in like I was family and it was the best fit for me.”

Boone also has a very large family and he wanted them to all be able to come see him play. So going away for Boone didn’t seem to sit well with him.

As for outside of football, Boone likes to enjoy his downtime mentoring other football players, whether it’s his teammates or young boys from his neighborhood.

“He’s a great encourager,” Smith said.

“I like sleeping, watching ESPN all day, and eating,” said Boone

On Sundays Boone is playing the keyboard or drums at church and spending time with family afterward.

“The way he is on the field is the same way he is on the drums, he beats them apart,” Smith said.

As for when Boone arrives at Maryland, he wants to study kinesiology, and on the field, he’s “looking forward to early impact.”

Boone describes his offensive playing style to Maryland alumni Stefon Diggs and his defensive playing style to Landon Collins, safety for New York Giants.

We are all looking forward to what this young athlete will bring to Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.

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