Averette Aims To Succeed In Class, On Turf

The common opinion about junior college players is that there is a risk: either a player is perhaps not good enough to make it in the classroom at a major four-year school, or he's not good enough to have the desired impact on the field. Devante Averette was sucked into the former in high school.

He was plenty good enough on the football field, earning a spot on the Detroit Free Press Michigan Dream Team. He had 63 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior, but he didn't have a high-enough GPA to get him where he wanted to be.

"I never had that type of motivation in the books," Averette told Tulsa World reporter Jimmie Tramel. "It was just like, the football life that typical players get caught up in, in the limelight. When it hit the fan, a lot of guys, they say they're a good player in high school and they fade away."

Averette didn't want to be that kind of story, so he took responsibility for his academic letdown. He also took responsibility for his son. He knew he wanted to get back to football, as it was his ticket to an education and maybe more. First, however, he had to take care of some business and responsibility at home.

"I had a UPS job. I was working double shifts; I was the driver helper and I worked in a factory," Averette explained. "I got up like four in the morning, and then I wouldn't get home until at least nine o'clock at night. We would drive and I would get out and deliver packages and everything like that. Then we would come back and they (I) load up trucks and organize everything. That's what I had to do.

"Detroit is a big city, so I have been to every part of Detroit," added Averette, who played his high school football just outside of Detroit in Melvindale. "There were great people. It was tough. It was around this time when winter was cold and we would get 12 inches of snow and we still had to work. In my life, it has always been a grind to work and to get out of Michigan and to get in the classroom. It's always a grind."

Averette learned from his experiences, and the second chance at football and the books resulted in an All-American season at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa, and eventually a scholarship from Oklahoma State. Now on campus, the speedy 6-1, 230-pound linebacker is ready to step in to help fill the "help wanted" signs on defense, particularly at linebacker.

"I feel like I can come in and start right away with my ability," Averette said. "I've got footwork like a safety. I played a little bit of corner, outside, middle, strong safety. I feel like I can play anywhere on the field, and it showed on film that I can play with big talent."

Averette played against national champion Iowa Western as a freshman and against current Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters. A lot of other Iowa Western graduates have gone on to Division I schools.

"I beat them a lot of times, timing up my blitzes and what not and one-on-one situations," Averette explained. "I feel like I want a spot, and that's what I'm going to fight for."


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