USF's Raymond takes next step, drafted by Vikings
USF defensive back Mistral Raymond, surrounded by at least 20 family members and friends at a cousin's house in Palmetto, got the call he'd been hoping for and saw the joy in the faces around him.
"It made me feel so good to see how excited they were," Raymond said after being drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings. "I want to be the guy in my family that everyone looks to for positive energy."
Raymond's story continues to add new, incredible chapters -- in three years, he's gone from walk-on to special-teams player to starter to captain and now, NFL draft pick. He had visited the Vikings during the draft process, spending two days with coaches and front-office personnel, but the enormity of what has happened was still sinking in moments after his name was called.
"I know what I've gone through," Raymond said. "When it happened, I kind of flashed back to all the years, and it made it surreal. I feel great. This is a match made in heaven. It's very special for me. Words can't express this journey."
Raymond's family has endured its share of tragedy, as earlier this month, his half-sister, 25-year-old Myslene Gabriel, was found dead in her apartment. An ex-boyfriend was questioned by police and arrested on a charge from a previous alleged incident of domestic violence, but an autopsy did not initially point to her death being a homicide.
Raymond said he expects his first look with the Vikings to be at cornerback, though he said he could also help the team at safety. He's the second Bulls player drafted this weekend, following defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who went to the Panthers in the third round.