Corey Raymond is set to become the Gators’ secondary coach. (Photo by Alex Shepherd, All Gators On FN.)
Billy Napier moves quickly.
In fairness, though, the move he just made was not one that caught anybody by surprise.
Corey Raymond, known by many as the longtime defensive backs coach and recruiting ace for LSU before Napier poached him prior to the 2022 season, has been tabbed as the Gators’ defensive backs coach. Raymond worked with the Gators’ cornerbacks last year, although Patrick Toney was the safeties coach. Now, with Toney off to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Raymond has seen his role expand: he’ll be the DB coach as a whole, and work with the entire unit, including cornerbacks and safeties.
The move was announced just two days after Toney’s departure, filling one of the holes that Toney vacated. The defensive coordinator position is thought to be going to Alabama linebackers coach Austin Armstrong, who was in Tuscaloosa for just ten days before this news broke. He served as the Southern Miss defensive coordinator last year.
But according to Jacob Rudner of Swamp247, this move was actually going to be made anyway. Rudner reports that Raymond’s ascent to the defensive backs coach title was “not a byproduct of Toney’s recent decision to accept a job on the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff.”
After playing for three years with the New York Giants and three more with the Detroit Lions, Corey Raymond quickly rose up the coaching ranks before taking the defensive backs coach role at LSU in 2012, a role he served in until 2017, when Ed Orgeron took over the program from Les Miles. He then dropped down to just being the cornerbacks coach. In 2020, Orgeron promoted him to the recruiting coordinator role.
During his time at LSU, Raymond worked with a laundry list of talented defensive backs including Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid, Jamal Adams, Grant Delpit, Jalen Mills, Greedy Williams, and Derek Stingley Jr. All seven earned All-American honors in Baton Rouge.
Raymond’s impact as a talent developer was felt immediately at Florida, too. Under his guidance, freshmen Devin Moore and Kamari Wilson took great strides as the 2022 season progressed, and by the end of the year were fixtures in the lineup. Veteran Jaydon Hill also enjoyed a nice comeback season after tearing his ACL.
Giving Corey Raymond the reins for the entire secondary is a move that should streamline things a lot in the Florida defensive backfield. It didn’t feel as though the secondary was on the same page a lot in 2022. In year two of the new defensive scheme, with the same man controlling the entirety of the unit, it seems like a safe bet that communication will improve- and results will too.