Devante Averette Making Up For Lost Time

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State knew when it recruited junior college All-American linebacker Devante Averette out of Ellsworth C.C. in Iowa that he was a physical player. The 6-0, 230-pound Michigan native had 92 tackles with 29 tackles for loss as a sophomore to grab the All-American honors. I'm not sure the Cowboys knew that as a youngster that Averette was spending time in the ring boxing.

"It (one gym) was in Grand Rapids and then I trained on the east side of Detroit at a gym called Kronk," Averette said giving some details of a sport of his youth and training at one of the most famous rings in America.

Okay, now Averette jumps way up the ladder with me and any other educated boxing enthusiast out there. When the 22-year-old Averette said "Kronk," Bill Haisten of The Tulsa World and I immediately looked at each other because Kronk Boxing in the famous home of Detroit's favorite son Thomas "Hitman" Hearns. Okay, now that is doing some boxing.

"Hitman, he's still around some," Averette said. "He makes appearances every once and a while and he did back then but I always seemed to miss him. It's cool, boxing and football, that's me."

So far in fall camp, Averette has climbed the depth chart with his performance and his versatility. The experience boxing may have been even more important to his speed (roughly 4.5) than his physical presence. His speed is a major weapon and quality for his game.

The same player that tore his ACL in the spring of 2014, had a meteoric rehab and seemed ready to go for the 2014 season and then after some limited playing time was put on the shelf for safe keeping. It's been a long time and the young man that spent his first year out of high school working a double shift at UPS in Detroit to support his family, including his son, who is now 4 years old.

"I'm excited because he will be there for the first game," Averette told me a week ago. I'm going to have a lot of family there."

He can play both the weak side linebacker and the star linebacker position. Jordan Burton's hip flexor injury has allowed Averette to show his ability at the star position.

The head coach has been bragging on him and Thursday's first scrimmage was huge for Averette.

"It was very, very important (today's scrimmage) because I wanted my coaches, I want them to see that I'm that same guy they recruited out of Ellsworth, Iowa. I've put in the process of my mind that I have to be the best out there, energy, blitzing, coverage, I feel I have to do it all and make up ground," Averette said.

Last season was strange for Averette because he'd never been hurt before. He only missed football that one season that he laid out to work at UPS. Last season he talked of watching games in the stands, on the sidelines, and at home. None of it was good. He wanted to be helping his team and he was hearing from friends and family wondering where he was.

"It was a terrible feeling and I just didn't want to watch football," Averette said. "It was sickening."

Now it's no mystery about it. He made a number of tackles in the scrimmage and also covered several passes. He showed up and showed up where Mike Gundy noticed him and surely Glenn Spencer will see plenty of him in grading the video.

"That's a big, big thing when the boss man, the head man notices you. I take that in my mind and that is a great feeling knowing you're doing a good job."

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