Last Friday was a tough one for all concerned at LaFayette High School’s Bulldog Stadium. The home team had just lost to the Randolph County Tigers by a few touchdowns and were walking off the field to their locker room. A lot of Bulldog players had their heads down understandably, but outside linebacker DeVantae King didn’t have any reason to though. The 17 year old senior finished the game with eight tackles while making his presence felt all over the field. The game of football turns the relaxed King into another young man entirely. “I just like being on the field, says King. It feels like home.” Though he also plays for the Bulldog basketball team, King says he likes football better and is savoring every game of his senior year before his high school football career ends this winter. “I’m going to miss these guys a lot, I like playing with my team,” said King.
DeVantae King’s influences range from his mother Makeshia Griffin and father Drexel King to his football coach James Lucas and science teacher Travis Smith who’s also the Bulldog JV football head coach and assistant basketball coach. All of those role models bring different things to the table for King to take out into the world with him following high schooll graduation. King plans on attending either Samford University in Birmingham or Faulkner University in Montgomery to study engineering. On his favorite classes, Mr. Smith’s Anatomy, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Earth Science courses: “He tries to teach us on a college level and uses his experience to get us ready for the next level academically.”
On Coach Lucas: “He’s a cool guy and he’s going to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.” The kid even enjoys football practice. “Practice is live, says King. It’s fun because we conduct practice as it it were an actual game.” Thus putting into practice the old saying that ‘always ready never needs to get ready’. Similar to his basketball idol, Los Angeles Clipper point guard and multiple time all-star Chris Paul, as one of the team’s leaders King has to be prepared for whatever moments a game can put him and his teammates in.
The Alabama football fan has been having a career year thus far this season racking up 47 tackles in seven starts with two of those tackles being for loss. His goals are the same as the team’s goals this season: to make the playoffs. So far King’s senior football season is looking to be going according to plan. And unlike like his favorite professional football player, New York Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis, King doesn’t have to be an island of his own in order to make those goals happen. He just has to go out every game and continue to be the player that he is.
When this season is all said and done King may miss his teammates and the feelings he gets whenever he steps cleats on the football field but the future engineer-“I’d like to work for Apple one day”-will be just fine walking with his head held high.
Follow Sports Editor Donnell Suggs on Twitter @suggswriter