Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hard work pays off for De'Von Terry

Here is some video of De'Von Terry talking about his journey. It was one of the more enjoyable stories I've had a chance to write. It's in the Tuesday print edition of the Dothan Eagle and also on dothaneagle.com HERE.

*One thing to remember: some people probably wonder why this guy hadn't played at all, but he was working at safety in 2010 and 2011 and a valuable member of the scout team. Kanorris Davis' injury opened up a spot during spring practice and Terry got a look there and showed much more ability this spring than he had shown in the first two years.

BY DREW CHAMPLIN | dchamplin@dothaneagle.com

TROY – De’Von Terry can point back to Feb. 1, 2010, as being one of the greatest days of his life.

That was the day that he found out he had made the Troy football team as a walk-on.

That was the day his son, Javon, was born.

That was the midpoint of a long journey that started when he graduated from Enterprise High School in 2008 and is culminating with a senior season where he finally found his way on the field and earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors after his performance in Troy’s 39-29 win at UAB on Saturday.

De'Von Terry's INT vs. UAB / Kevin Glackmeyer photo
In his first game since high school, Terry, who ascended to the backup nickel role behind Kanorris Davis, had five tackles, hustled down to recover a second-quarter UAB fumble inside the Troy 5-yard line and had a crucial fourth-quarter interception with UAB down just two. It led to a Troy touchdown.

“The game meant a lot,” Terry said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity that coach gave me. I’m glad we got the win, thankful for my family paying my way through school. It’s been a long time coming.”

Terry’s road as a college football student-athlete has been a long one and he’s starting to see the fruits of his labor. He enrolled at Troy in the fall of 2008, but wasn’t academically eligible to play football. In 2009, the roster was full. In 2010, he finally got his chance.

But he had financial obligations to take care of. One was for the college basics, such as tuition and room and board. Another was for the needs of his son. Terry often worked two jobs, one at Sonic and one as a server at the local Santa Fe restaurant.

With working around 30 hours per week, going to class and practice and making trips to Enterprise to see his son and family, there wasn’t much time for sleep.

Sometimes, Troy head coach Larry Blakeney would excuse Terry from practice so he could go to work, but needed him on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because the 6-foot-1, 191-pound senior was a pivotal scout team player.

“If there’s a good excuse or something to do with family, there’s never any question (to let him go to work),” Blakeney said. “You’ve heard that old story, ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.’ Never fooled me.

“It was a great experience to see a young man like him who’s been through what he’s been through to be successful (against UAB). I think it’ll help him and he did help us.”

Terry, nicknamed “Goose,” never could get in the mix as a safety in his first two years. This spring, with the injury to Davis late last season, he finally got some work at the nickel position and thrived.

“Best I can remember, spring practice this year, he started showing up and making plays and we go, ‘Man that guy’s pretty good,’” linebackers coach Benjy Parker said. “He works his way into the rotation and all the sudden, bam, he gets in to the ball game and makes the most of it.

“He’s worked hard and worked himself into a good football player. He kept fighting and kept scratching. That’s DeVon for you. That’s what you get when he gets on the field for you. He kept battling.”

Terry said his two main inspirations are his son and his mother. He heard several people say he should just move on after not getting any playing time in 2010 or 2011, but he would have none of that.

“If you love something, it’s hard to give it up,” Terry said. "I had to keep trying and keep battling. It’s something I really wanted. My mom always used to work two jobs to take care of me and my little brother. I could do it too and work my way on the field and make her proud.”

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