When A&M signee Derrick Stephens moved to Cy-Falls, he planned on turning heads, he just never expected that it would happen on the football field.
"I originally moved here to play basketball and that didn't work out," Stephens said. "So I decided to play football and that has obviously worked out pretty well."
I guess so.
Stephens recorded 121 tackles, two sacks, one interception (returned 44 yards for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and 18 tackles for a loss as a senior. A similar set of numbers as a junior are what earned him an offer as a junior, before the spring evaluation period had even begun.
When he received the offer from A&M, he jumped at the opportunity.
"I knew where I wanted to go and it was either Texas or Texas A&M," he said. "I just liked the coaches. The coaches are better at A&M, they're much better to get along with., the facilities are by far much better. They're some of the best in the nation. I've been watching A&M vs. Texas on Thanksgiving since I was a little kid and watching Dat Nguyen. Once a school I wanted to go offered me, I committed on the spot."
As a senior this fall, Stephens anchored a defense that took Cy-Falls all the way to the state championship game, which brings an intangible with him to A&M.
"I don't see how it could hurt at all coming from a winning program," Stephens said. "I (learned) what it takes to win and A&M is on the rise (and will return) as a winning program. When you bring in a bunch of players from winning programs, you're going to win."
Since falling short in the state championship game in December, Stephens and fellow A&M signee, Roger Holland (5-10, 175 lb. WR) have been working hard to get ready to play at the next level for A&M.
"We've only really known each other the last four years," said Stephens, who names Holland as one of his closets friends. "But we just kind of broke away from everyone else because we're different. We have a work ethic that's hard to beat. That's all we do is try to get better and work harder."
The two, who will also be roommates after moving to College Station this summer, have been working out with two trainers. One of which won the World's Strongest Man competition in 1998 and 1999. The other, a speed trainer, competed in the Olympics.
"All I do is work," Stephens said. "I was playing at 6-foot-3, 220. Now I'm about 6-3 and a half with 240, my body fat is at 12% now and before I was hurt I was running a 4.6 (40-yard dash). (Monday) I clocked a 4.50."
Stephens hopes to shave that time down even further, which would make him an even more explosive linebacker for the Aggies. As a junior, Stephens really played what most would consider safety and caught the A&M coaches' attention by making plays in open space. He can drop back in coverage when needed, but his best highlights usually include him disrupting plays in the backfield before they can even develop. Stephens has a knack for always being around the ball, and even though he may not record every tackle, he is a constant problem for opposing offenses.
Those natural instincts and his work ethic are two reasons that Stephens expects to contribute as a freshman.
"I'm going to play," he said. "My one goal is just to be able to compete. I'm going to work my hardest to be able to compete with the rest of the guys."
With his work ethic, there's no reason to think Stephens won't continuing turning heads at yet another new school.
Stephens anxiously awaiting move to Aggieland
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