CoachSpeak: Coach Lauds RU Commit Peoples

WARMINSTER, Pa. -- In his one year at Archbishop Wood High, running back and Rutgers commit Desmon Peoples certainly made his mark as an all-around player. So much so Vikings coach Steve Devlin said Peoples was "one of the greatest kids I've been around in coaching," has "got the best hands of anybody I've ever coached" and "he can score every time he touches the ball." What else did he say?

WARMINSTER, Pa. -- Archbishop Wood High coach Steve Devlin coached running back Desmon Peoples for one season, and that was plenty of time for him to make a huge impression.

Peoples is a team captain, scored 23 rushing touchdowns, and earned praise from Devlin for his running, above average hands and off-the-field demeanor.

Devlin spoke to after the 5-foot-7, 175-pound Peoples announced his intention to sign with Rutgers, and was full of compliments.

"Besides a great football player, they're getting a tremendous kid with a work ethic that is second to none," Devlin said. "He's a total team player. His abilities on the field speak for itself, but the kind of person he is, and what he brings as a leader, and what he brings as a person to the program, is something you can't coach.

"He's just a tremendous kid. He's one of the greatest kids I've been around in coaching."

The transition from Archbishop Wood's offense into Rutgers' pro-style offense will not be drastic.

"We're very similar to what they do, with one two backs, going to one back, some zone stuff, throwing the ball to him out of the backfield,' Devlin said. "He fits in there. He'll be a factor in a return games, I'm sure, as well."

Peoples arrived at Archbishop Wood after spending his freshman season at Cheltenham High (Wyncote, Pa.) and his sophomore season at St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia), and his made his mark quickly.

After rushing for 1,050 yards and catching 18 passes for 298 yards and combining for 15 touchdowns as a sophomore at St. Joseph's, Peoples rushed for 1,349 yards and 23 touchdowns on 165 carries as a junior at Archbishop Wood.

However, he also was incorporated into the passing and return games. He had 11 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown and he returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score.

"I tell people all the time, he can score every time he touches the ball. That's how he is," Devlin said. "He's very athletic. I watched him play basketball the other day, and he's a phenomenal basketball player. He's quick. He's a track star. He's the type of kid …whatever he sets his mind to, he's going to be all right."

Although Peoples wasn't overly active in the Vikings' passing game, he is a gifted pass catcher.

"He's got the best hands of anybody I've ever coached," Devlin said. "It's like glue sometimes. I have to yell at him a lot of times to use two hands because he can catch everything with one hand. He's unique."

Devlin said Peoples is consistently clocked in the 4.4s in the 40-yard dash, and while his size contributed to a lack of offers, it is not a concern.

"Some people talk about that," Devlin said, "but you look at the Ray Rices of the world, you look at Maurice Jones-Drew, a local guy like Brian Westbrook, some of the smaller guys, and they all made pretty good futures for themselves.

"I tell people all the time, it doesn't matter the size of the guy, he has the heart of a lion."

It didn't take long for Peoples to earn the respect of his teammates, either. They voted him team captain.

"You tell them not to do it on athletic prowess by itself," he said. "You tell them to do it on guys they want to lead, and he's got everything about it. Being a great athlete helps, but when he speaks, he's not one of those guys screaming and yelling for the heck of it. When he says something, kids listen."

Scarlet Report Top Stories