DeVito a terrific free agent find for Mr. T.

The odds against rookie Mike DeVito making the Jets active roster were long as Appalachian State's chances heading into Ann Arbor this past Saturday.

But DeVito impressed the Jets brass throughout the preseason, and learned, on Saturday night, he had earned a spot on Eric Mangini's 53-man roster. He is the only undrafted rookie to do so.

The twenty-three year old Maine product put together an impressive body of work in the preseason. His high intensity play, and quick transition to the 3-4, put him in good favor with the coaching staff, and made him one of the more interesting stories of camp.

Yet, with veteran Bobby Hamilton still ahead of him on the depth chart, DeVito was certainly no guarantee to make the team.

Having done all he could do, and still considered a long shot, Friday and Saturday were long days for DeVito. Oddly enough, he was waiting for the phone not to ring.

"I had the cell phone on me the whole time - I kept checking it." DeVito said on Monday morning. "On Saturday around five or six o'clock I was like OK, now I'm probably alright. I don't think anyone else is calling me now."

Despite having to adapt to a new system, coupled with the large jump from 1-AA football to the pro game, DeVito's success certainly didn't happen by accident.

His signature throughout camp was his high-intensity play, and it's a trademark that didn't just impress the coaching staff.

"There was a couple of times where we were watching film and our offensive coordinator would be like, we know this guy [DeVito] is going to come hard." tight end Joe Kowalewski said. "When an offensive coach is talking about a player, you know he's doing a good job. He came out of nowhere really; a couple plays here and there and then all of a sudden... he played really well and he definitely belongs. He earned it and he deserves it."

Since the 3-4 defensive scheme is a rarity to the college game, the stumbling block for many rookies in similar positions is the inability to quickly grasp the system. For DeVito, the transition didn't come overnight, but it did happen quick enough.

As training camp progressed, and his reps increased, it became more and more evident that he was grasping the defense and traversing northward up the depth chart.

His training camp performance convinced the Jets front office they were better off taking a chance on his youth, rather than hanging on to the thirty-seven year old Hamilton.

And if training camp is any barometer of his ability to do so, it won't be long until Jet fans can expect to see him making an impact when the games actually matter.

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