Larry Raper, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound three-star wide receiver/running back from Shelby, N.C., didn’t sign on national signing day and says he’s now focusing on Michigan, East Carolina, South Carolina State and Toledo. He says he’d like to sign with either Michigan or East Carolina, but neither have offered.
“I know that Michigan has been talking to my coach a lot recently,” Raper said. “We sent them some tape and they are checking that out. I’m not sure how many offers they have left but they are recruiting me so they must be interested. If they offered me I’d sign right away.”
Scout.com’s No. 61 wide receiver in the country says the Wolverines are recruiting him as a cornerback/athlete. He would sign with East Carolina if they offered as well. “I talked with the coaches there last week and we’re talking about me coming for a visit,” Raper said. “I’m not sure when that might be, but hopefully soon. I really want to sign somewhere before the end of the month.”
Raper says he currently only has offers from South Carolina State and Toledo and although he visited the Rockets on Jan. 30, he says he’s no longer considering them.
“The visit was real good and it’s a pretty good school,” he said. “But it’s not really a place I wanted to go. I think it’s a little too far. If I’m gonna go that far away I want to go to a big school that plays on TV a lot so my friends and family could still see me play.”
Next up for Raper is a visit to South Carolina State tomorrow, Feb. 12. “I know if I went there I’d be able to play early,” he said. “They want me as a running back because their starting back is a senior. They said they need a big-time player like me.”
Big time is right. At one point in time Raper says he had about half dozen offers from schools like North Carolina State, Duke, South Carolina and Clemson. In fact, Raper had originally committed to Clemson in Sept. 2007.
“I grew up loving Clemson,” he said. “I lived in Greenwood, S.C., with my mom from when I was eight years old to 15 years old and Clemson was always my favorite school.”
Raper was happy to have the recruiting process out of the way, but when coach Tommy Bowden was fired from Clemson, Raper had to reevaluate his situation. “I really liked coach Bowden,” he said. “Once he left I started looking at other schools. I didn’t want to play for different coaches. I wanted to play for him and his staff and I knew things would be different there.”
That’s when he began considering North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Duke. “All those schools offered me,” he said. “But just before the New Year they kind of stopped keeping in touch.”
Even when the Tigers hired coach Dabo Swinney to replace coach Bowden, they no longer seemed interested. Once 2009 hit, Raper was left without many options. But why the sudden exodus? “I think my grades scared away some schools,” he said. “I took my SAT late and only got a 800. I’m waiting on my retake score now.”
Raper reports a 2.4 core GPA and says that he expects to qualify. “I’ve been hearing from some prep schools, but I’m not thinking about that,” he said. “I think I did pretty well on the last SAT and my grades have gone up too. I don’t think it’ll be an issue.”
Raper is seriously fast and runs a 10.5 100m and also has a 21-4 long jump. He says he’d like to compete in track in college as well.
He finished his senior season with over 1,000 yards rushing, with eight touchdowns on the ground and five touchdowns receiving.