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FOOTBALL: Rayburn finds football home, signs with ECU

Feb. 16—Football runs in the blood of Cade Rayburn.

Following in the footsteps of family members before him while also writing his own story at the same time, Rayburn's football career will continue at the next level. Rayburn took part in Chickasha's Feb. 7 signing ceremony at Chickasha High School, and his decision is official.

The accomplished Chickasha senior will play football in Ada at East Central University after high school, joining the school where his brother, Ty, signed to play just last year.

Rayburn has wanted this opportunity since he was little.

"Being able to play football in college was always a childhood dream," Rayburn said. "I just feel blessed that I'm being given the opportunity to compete at the college level."

Recruitment and choosing ECU

The recruitment process was not an easy one for Rayburn. He believes in this day and age, just getting noticed can be difficult.

But Rayburn continued to put in the work and earned the opportunity in front of him.

"Anyone who's been through it knows how hard it is to get noticed, especially when you're competing with grown men in the transfer portal," Rayburn said about the process. "It takes a lot of hard work."

When it came to deciding on where to play, Rayburn said that was the easy part.

While being appreciative of all the schools who wanted him, ECU made Rayburn feel like he was home. The school and program had too much going for them.

"The coaches played a big role. I liked how easy they were to talk to, and I felt confident in their coaching abilities," Rayburn said. "There's also the fact my brother Ty goes there, and everyone in their program has been great to me from Day 1.

"After considering various opportunities, I decided ECU's football program aligns best with my athletic and academic goals."

Loving football

Rayburn was almost destined to develop a love of football. Along with his brother before him is his father, Sam, who made his way to the NFL during his playing career.

Naturally, Rayburn picked up on that love of the sport and the ability to play the sport at a high level.

"I love that God saw fit to bless me with the ability to play and a passion to give it everything I have," he said. "Football, for me, has always been about the sheer competitiveness and the bonding between teammates, coaches and even the fans."

Along the way, through the ups downs, a bond between everyone he has played with in Chickasha developed. He will never forget that bond.

"There's no place I would rather be," Rayburn said. "Chickasha football really has been a brotherhood, and I will forever cherish it."

Rayburn finished his Chickasha career with an accomplished senior season. He got named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association's 4A West All-Star team and earned the honor of District 4A-1 Offensive Player of the Year.

Writing his own story

And as he moves forward, continuing in the footsteps of those before him, Rayburn is looking to write his own story. He'd love to reach the pros like his father, but he knows how tough that is and wants to concentrate on his collegiate career.

"I think it's great what my dad did, and I would love to reach that level of competition," Rayburn said. "I also understand how hard that is, and I know my parents want to watch me write my own story, wherever that may take me.

"For now, I know I need to concentrate on college, increasing my football intelligence and, of course, continuing to work on my athleticism."