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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2025 WR Raiden Vines-Bright Allowing Maturity to Guide Decisions

January 29, 2024
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For most athletes, there was a moment on a field or court where they started to separate from their peers. 

Raiden Vines-Bright‍’s story is different as there was no ball or field when his mother, Heather, noticed her son was going to be an athlete. 

Irish Sports Daily
2025 WR Raiden Vines-Bright

In fact, it started with a dresser, mattress, and probably a little more courage than most toddlers might showcase.

”When he was probably two years old, I walked into his bedroom and his dad had a mattress on the floor, and Raiden was standing on a dresser,” Vines-Bright recalled. “I’m like, ‘What are you guys doing?’ His dad was teaching him how to jump off and land properly.” 

The acrobatics proved foundational in what developed into a broad love of sports before the 6-foot, 185-pounder became enamored with and focused primarily on football.

“I swear, from when he was a young kid, I knew he had something special,” said Vines-Bright. “He’s very gifted athletically. He’s played tee ball, lacrosse, karate, track, basketball, soccer - any sport you can think of he tried. He’s been good at every sport. 

“I put him in every sport to let him try it, and naturally, whatever he progressed to and loved is what we went with and it just happened to be football.” 

THE PROCESS

It’s safe to say football was the right choice as Vines-Bright has turned into a four-star receiver prospect, and is quickly approaching 20 scholarship offers, including a recent offer from Notre Dame. 

Colorado State was the first school to offer in November of 2022, and within three days, Arizona and Arizona State had also offered the Tempe native. 

”Excitement,” stated Vines-Bright when asked about the emotions of her son’s first offer. “Shock. I was crying. I was confused because I didn’t realize that he would have gotten that because it was his sophomore year. He had just come off fracturing his wrist, so he was in a cast, so it was like, ‘How is this happening?’

“I think it was more shock to me, but we were so excited and really proud of him. From there, it just kind of snowballed.” 

The recruiting process can be one where kids or even families get caught up in the attention of the bright lights, but that’s not Raiden Vines-Bright.

In fact, Vines-Bright went to work. He put on 20 pounds of good weight in the last year and has shown discipline few have at his age. 

“He’s very determined and very ambitious,” explained Vines-Bright. “He does everything he can to make sure he’s well rested, drinking water and eating the right things. His dad is a personal trainer and is always on him about taking his vitamins, eating right and teaches him a lot about gaining the right way, and not just eating cheeseburgers and candy, but how to gain weight the right way and put on muscle versus fat. 

“He has a good support system, and we try to guide him as much as possible. At the end of the day, it’s really going to be up to him and what he puts into his body. We just try to teach him the right things to do.” 

Those closest to Vines-Bright have also noticed he hasn’t changed too much away from the field. If anything, the recruiting attention has allowed him to gain confidence in his own process. 

“Raiden has stayed the same kid, and maybe even increased his confidence level,” Vines-Bright said of her son since his recruiting process started. “He’s still the same Raiden. I give him the ‘Don’t let this go to your head and stay who you are’ talk. Even when he was transferring to IMG, I’m like, ‘Just stay who you are. Please don’t let this change you.’ 

“I’m his mom, so I’m biased, but I just think he has such a good heart, and he’s a good human being. I don’t want that part to change. All of the offers and attention he’s getting, Raiden has stayed the same Raiden, and I hope that continues on.” 

THE TRANSFER
As mentioned by his mother, Vines-Bright made the choice to transfer from Corona Del Sol High School (Ariz.) to national powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

And yes, Vines-Bright needed to sell his parents on making the move to IMG Academy, which wasn’t easy, but he did his research and gave a presentation with conviction. 

“At first, I said no because that’s far away,” laughed Vines-Bright. “He came to his dad and I with a list of pros and cons of why he wanted to go to IMG. He’s going to get good coaching, a really good training program, and he’s going to play with the best of the best and compete against the best of the best. It prepares him for college. IMG has a great reputation, and is an elite place for athletes.

IMG also offers exposure for athletes in various sports, but that didn’t factor into the decision, which might have been a valuable selling point, while also speaking to Vines-Bright’s maturity. 

“I think it also exposes him to more national offers, which was probably last on his list,” stated Vines-Bright. “He’s not going to IMG for the offers, but rather the experience and helping him get better.” 

Irish Sports Daily
Raiden and Heather Vines-Bright at his IMG Academy send off party 

THE KID
What should be clear is this: Vines-Bright is mature beyond his years, which also allows him to take in the ups and downs of the life of a teenager - and probably allowed his parents to be comfortable sending him across the country for the final year of high school.

”He’s a pretty chill guy,” Vines-Bright said. “He’s kind of quiet until you get to know him. His girlfriend and I always say nothing ever bothers Raiden because he’s always cool, calm and collected. He doesn’t get frazzled and always has a chill attitude about a lot of things.

“He has a lot of friends and can make friends easily. I would say he’s a really kind human being and treats people well. He’s respectful. He’s kind of like a dream kid, to be honest with you. I got lucky.” 

With the chill attitude, Vines-Bright isn’t a rah-rah guy and lets his actions and play do his talking. And the ability to run by anyone with his 10.8 100m or a 4.4 40 helps with his lead-by-example approach. 

”He’s definitely more of a leader, but he’s a quiet leader,” Vines-Bright stated. “He leads by example, not necessarily by yelling. He’s not the guy who is going to go around the room and get everyone pumped up. It’s all by example. He’s a hard worker, so he doesn’t miss practice, and he’s a good student. He’s respectful to his coaches and kind to his teammates.

“When we had his going away party, I was amazed by all of the kids who showed up. It really put things in perspective when you look at everyone who showed up to see him off. He just has a really good support system.” 

PARENT PERSPECTIVE 
There isn’t a book for parents or recruits on how to approach the recruiting process, and if there was, it wouldn’t be applicable to others. Every recruitment is different as each recruit is looking for something different. 

That said, almost all recruitments come down to comfort, and that’s what Vines-Bright believes her son is looking for as she helps him navigate a national recruitment. 

”I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I’m taking it in,” Vines-Bright explained. “It’s been a really great process so far just seeing the schools. Once you’ve seen a couple schools, I think you’ve seen them all. They all have the same facilities, resources and things like that.

“For Raiden, it’s important for him to find a good support system and connection with the coaching staff. Once he feels comfortable with somebody, he’s able to open up. I think when you’re away from home, it’s really key to have someone you can go to other than your parents. He’s looking for a great education, and a good football team. He wants to be able to start as a freshman, so that’s also important to him.” 

Like most mothers, Vines-Bright wouldn’t be opposed to having her son choose a university close to home, but she also knows this is a decision bigger than a short drive. 

“The location isn’t as important,” Vines-Bright said. “Of course, as a mom, I want him as close as possible to me, but I also understand if the best school for him is on the East Coast or in the Midwest. I’ll support him 100 percent on whatever decision he makes.”

When it comes to sharing advice with parents entering the crazy world of recruiting, Vines-Bright believes it’s crucial to take in every experience as its own and find what is important to their family despite what others might have experienced. 

”I think you have to stay open-minded and explore options,” said Vines-Bright. “You can’t shut one thing out because of a past experience or what someone said. It’s important to keep your options open and evaluate them holistically. You need to come up with the pros and cons of every school and make a list of the things that are important for your child and as a parent and family. 

“Everybody is different, and so one family might need something while another family might not feel it’s important. It’s really key to sit down and reflect on what’s important to you, your child and really find the right environment. It’s almost like trying to look for a job. You’re going to take all those things into consideration before you make the move.” 

Junior Highlights

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