Parents: Max and Teresa Raynor
High School: South Johnston
Height, Weight: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
Why State? “It was a school that I quickly knew I was going to like. The campus and the program are great. I really like the way they do things there.”
Also Considered: North Carolina, East Carolina, UNC Greensboro
Plans to Major In: Biology
Notable: Will is the youngest of the four children of Max and Teresa Raynor, a pair of standout athletes themselves. And following his parents and his older siblings – John (former Major League player), Anna (All-American in the javelin in college) and Mary Beth (a multi-sport standout at South Johnston) – made Will wonder if he wanted to pursue collegiate athletics or concentrate in college on a future career in ophthalmology.
He asked his siblings for guidance and received rave reviews about their college sports experiences. “John and Anna both gave good reviews of their college experience,” Will said. “They said that college was the place they developed the most and got to most out of themselves more than any level. So I figured I’d give it a shot.” … Will joins an N.C. State outfield that is expected to be very deep next season. …
An interest in mixed martial arts also helped to change Will’s approach to sports last year. “My whole mentality changed,” Will said. “I figured if I could get in a cage and fight someone bigger than me, then I could step in the batter’s box against anybody.” Although he never had an MMA match, the training with a childhood buddy changed his approach to baseball last summer. …
Despite being a three-year starter for South, Will hadn’t put together the kind of career that would draw the interest of national powers like State and Carolina before his senior season. As a senior, he hit .447, helping lead the Trojans to the state playoffs and a win in the Johnston County Easter Invitational. … That tournament was a turning point for the Trojans, he said: “In the Easter tournament when we played Middle Creek, we showed we could play with anybody in the state.” … Will has continued to be a standout in the classroom throughout his high school career. He finished in the top five in his graduation class.
South Johnston coach Keith Durham: “Will just lit it up from day one for us this season. He led us in almost every offensive category and defensively he was even better. You could tell the way he played, he’d changed as a baseball player. Everything just looked different.”
Compiled by D. Clay Best