Coach Spotlight: Trey DePriest
"I tell people to look at what Trey's accomplished playing three sports," said Springfield head football coach Rick Robertson. "So imagine what he's capable of when he focuses on just one."
Springfield did have a Springfield North High School and a Springfield South. After the 2007-08 school year, North was demolished, and the two schools were consolidated. DePriest played his freshman year at South prior to the unification. Then came in Coach Robertson to coach the newly redesigned Springfield High.
"When I first saw him play I really didn't think he was that special," said Roberston. "I just didn't see it. I thought he needed to spend more time in the weight room. Then, at a 7-on-7 we had, he made a play that I don't think I've ever seen in all my years of coaching, and I thought to myself, ‘that kid's got it.'"
DePriest, 6-2, 235, broke out as a player during a phenomenal junior season where he played offense, defense, and special teams at both kicker and punter.
"That year he probably was in on 80-percent of the snaps," said Robertson. "In our league, that's just unheard of. We play in what's regarded as the second or third toughest conference in the state of Ohio."
The 2009 season earned DePriest 2nd team All-State (1A) and a ton of offers such as Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Duke, Stanford, Notre Dame, N.C. State, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida, and Alabama. They were all highly motivated to bring him in as a student-athlete.
"Last year at the Under Armour Combine Trey met Phillip Sims and Vinnie Sunseri," said Robertson. "He really liked Vinnie as well as his father, Sal, who became his recruiter to Alabama.
"Trey's a very low-key guy who shuns the spotlight. His favorite hobby is going fishing. He liked the down-home aspect of Alabama compared to the huge, 55,000-plus student campus at Ohio State.
"He has a close relationship with his family, so I thought he'd probably stay in-state at the beginning. They encouraged him to do what's best for him, and I think he just felt at home at Alabama. His friendship has continued with Vinnie, and I think they're planning on being roommates as incoming freshmen."
The commitment to Alabama came in July prior to summer camp. DePriest was second on the team in tackles as a senior with 117, made eight and a half sacks, and three interceptions, two he returned for touchdowns. He averaged 39.6 yards per punt and was used on offense in short yardage packages rushing in six touchdowns. The Wildcats finished 9-3 on the year making it to the 2nd round of the playoffs.
"We had two big games at the end of the year which we needed to win. Trey came to me and said ‘give me the ball coach', and I didn't argue with him," said Robertson. "He rushed for close to 100 yards and helped carry us to a playoff berth. Trey's the consummate team player."
The extraordinary showing in 2010 earned DePriest All-State honors as well as 1A Defensive Player of the Year and was named an Under Amour All-American.
"The Monday after we lost in the play-offs ending our season Trey was in the weight room by himself," said Roberston. "Then he started running around the track. He's very self-disciplined. You don't need to tell Trey to do work. He does it on his own. That's how seriously he took playing in the Under Armour game which was coming up and the up-tempo life he's sure to see at Alabama."
DePriest left Ohio in the past week to become an early enrollee at Alabama. At the time of his departure, he's still only 17 years of age.
"We talked about how the landscape has changed to many of the better players going in early," Robertson said, "and Trey wanted to do it. This will allow him to learn the system quicker both as a student and an athlete."
As a basketball play DePriest played three years in the post for the Wildcats. On the baseball diamond, he played first base and catcher. The Springfield High A.D. thought he had the potential to be drafted, but football is his passion. Now he's set compete at linebacker at Alabama with some of the SEC's best.
"We used him at outside linebacker and blitzed him a lot which resulted in eight and a half sacks," Robertson said. "To reference Bill Bradley's book "A Sense of Where You Are", Trey has great instincts on the field of where he needs to be. He plays the game with considerable intensity, a rare understanding of the game, and displays unlimited potential."
DePriest's prep career came to an end in mid-November with a 2nd round playoff loss to Hilliard Davidson. He was named Springfield News-Sun All-Area Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. He wore No. 33 for the Wildcats.
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