Former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields spent last season at Trinity Valley Junior College in Athens, Tx., thinking about his future.
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Fields, who was dismissed from the team at TCU, wanted to get back to the big-time level of college football "at the right place for me."
Fields, ranked as the No. 2 junior-college prospect in the country by Scout.com in the Class of 2015, found that place on his visit to the University of Louisville.
"I just liked everything about it here; it's a cool place," Fields told Cardinal Authority. "It's a huge relief for me. I'm so relieved that I am going to a place that I really like, with great coaches who can help me try to reach my dreams."
Fields also looked at Mississippi and several other schools before making a decision, but was sold on U of L after a weekend visit.
"It's a great place," he said. "Coach (Bobby Petrino) is a pretty cool dude and I really like coach (Todd Grantham). He can help make me better and get me to the next level. He has a lot of contacts at the next level, so he knows how to get players there."
Grantham turned down an offer earlier in the week to leave U of L for the Oakland Raiders. When asked if he would have gone to U of L had Grantham left, Fields responded "Oh, probably not." Grantham had been in contact with Fields for a few weeks.
Fields is originally from Fort Worth, Tx., and was an Under Armour All-American coming out of Arlington Martin High School. He picked TUC over Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee.
As a freshman, Fields was selected as the AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Newcomer of the Year. He was voted by conference coaches as the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and landed on both of the first teams for All-Big 12 and AP All-Big 12 and was a consensus Freshman All-American and named the Defensive Freshman of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com.
Fields started all 13 games and finished with 53 tackles, including 34 solo tackles, and led the team with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks.
He was limited to three games because of injury in 2013. And after some setbacks off of the field, Fields and the Horned Frogs parted ways. He wanted to attends Stephen F. Austin - an FCS school - and then enter the NFL Draft but that was blocked by TCU.
In his one season at Trinity Valley, Fields was credited with 61 tackles, 6.5 sacks, six tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and seven tipped passes.
The Scout.com evaluation on Fields calls him a "real terror" at the JUCO level. Trinity Valley went undefeated last season.
"He is the perfect type of player who you can line up on the edge and allow him to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback," the evaluation said. "He forces the action and makes a lot of plays. He is as fast as the ball carriers he is chasing and at this level at times even faster. He has two years of eligibility remaining."
Fields said the coaches didn't tell him any kind of expectations for his play on the field, but noted he "is excited and thankful to get this chance."
"I'm going to do everything the coaches ask me to do, whatever that is," Fields said. "I've been given a great opportunity."