A small blue house stands in Fluker, Louisiana. It’s beaten up and run down. The house will tell you if it’s raining outside because water leaks from the damaged ceiling onto the floor. This house, it may not be much, it may not look like much, but it is Devonta Lee’s first inspiration for a better life. “When I started to play football, I’d meditate on that blue house and think, ‘man, I gotta make this happen, I’ve got to push myself so that I can take care of my family.’ ” On Wednesday, February 6th, Devonta’s dream of taking care of his family became one step closer to reality. He signed with LSU to play wide receiver for the Tigers.
Before there was football in Devonta’s life, he played both baseball and basketball. Lacresia Lee, Devonta’s mother, knew by the time he was 9 years old that he had the ability to play any sport he wanted. “People could not believe the good things he was doing in sports when he was young,” she said. “I always said he’s gonna be a baseball, basketball and football player. He can play all three sports really well.” In fact, it was when he was playing basketball that a coach approached him about trying out for football. “A coach saw me playing basketball and told me, ‘man, you need to come try out for football, so I did,” said Devonta. I liked the physicality and the pride in football. It was really fun and I enjoyed it, so I began playing football.” In fact, he was so dominate that he earned the nickname Megatron. It’s what everyone calls him. “He transforms to a whole other level on the field,” said his mother. “He can go up and get the ball any way you throw it to him. He doesn’t care - you throw it to him, he’s gonna get it.” Lacresia credits his abilities to his unmatched work ethic which is, “100% at all times.” “All he does is work out every day, he loves it. He doesn’t miss a beat.”
As to the other two sports he started with - Devonta still plays basketball, and his team is currently district champions. For baseball, he hasn’t stepped onto the diamond in a while, but that could soon change. Lee may look to pick up the bat one last time for his senior year. “I feel like we have a baseball team this year that could win it all,” said Devonta. When asked if he thought Coach Orgeron would have something to say about him playing baseball one more time, he laughed and said, “Ah well thats true, I don’t know about that.”
A long two year recruiting process came to an end for Lee earlier this month. Both Devonta and Lacresia described the recruitment as “stressful, but great experience.” When asked how the process was for Lacresia as a mom, she said, “The coaches were very nice and they were good to us. It’s a hard thing to choose between those schools when they’re recruiting you hard like that. So I told Devonta, ‘I’m never going to pick a school for him, it’s up to you to pick your own school, but I’m behind you 100%.’ ”
So what made Devonta choose LSU over other schools? Loyalty. “They’ve always been loyal to me and recruited me hard,” said Devonta. “Coach Ensminger and Coach Mickey have come out to my games without me having to ask. That meant a lot to me.” Lacresia noted the special effort Coach Mickey Joseph put into her son becoming a Tiger. “Coach Mickey has been behind Devonta for two years straight. He never let up on him, not one day. He always recruited, always came out to check on him. Coach Mickey said he wanted Devonta, and he kept his word the whole way through.’ ”
Devonta played both offense and defense in high school, but made the decision to only play offense in college. LSU not trying to change his decision was another sign of loyalty. “The coaches never sold me any lies about playing defense,” he said. “I was labeled an athlete, but they knew I wanted to play receiver. I may look good at safety, but I’m coming to play receiver.”
There is another receiver Devonta is looking forward to teaming up with, incoming 4 star wide receiver and long time friend, Trey Palmer. “We always talked about playing on the same team, and we were determined to make this happen,” said Lee. “Trey and I want to make a statement for our city because we have so many people behind us.” Trey and Devonta have yet to step on the field together, but are already drawing comparisons to LSU’s last dynamic duo - Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. So which one does Devonta think he is? Try both. “I’m a mix of both Jarvis and Odell. I have the power of Jarvis, but I can make those one handed catches like Odell.” An Odell/Jarvis hybrid? LSU fans rejoice…
LSU recently hired Joe Brady from the New Orleans Saints. Brady may be the new kid on the block, but Devonta already has high praise for him. “I love Coach Brady since the first time I met him. I think he has a plan for me,” said Lee. LSU hired Brady as the new passing game coordinator in January. He will also help coach wide receivers along with Mickey Joseph. When asked if Devonta thought there would be a clear “Brady difference” on the offense he enthusiastically replied, “Oh yeah, He’s about to open the offense up with the passing game. Brady showed me the plan, and it fits my game perfectly. It’s just like the offense my high school runs, that spread, RPO offense, so I’m going to fit right in.” Before accepting the job at LSU, Joe Brady was the offensive assistant for the New Orleans Saints. So when Brady compares Devonta to Micheal Thomas - you listen. “Coach said he wants me to be the next Micheal Thomas. Brady said my game reminds him a lot of Micheal’s with the hitch routes, the go and slant routes -thats my game.”
Clearly, expectations are high for Devonta. When asked how he plans to handle the spotlight of playing in the SEC he says, “I’m going to handle it like a man. I know it’s going to be different from high school, so I’m going in with the right mindset - fully locked in and prepared. First, I’m going to attack my books, and stay away from distractions. No going out partying, and keeping away from the wrong crowd. I’m going to be around people that have the same mindset and goals as me. Then, when it’s time to go out there for practice, I’m going out there focused, no games. Then when game time comes around, I’m going to play my part. My game will speak for itself. I don’t do all that talking. As soon as that equipment comes on, I’m going to handle my business.”
Devonta is an amazing athlete. Comparisons to Micheal Thomas, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry don’t come by being average. The only thing that rivals Megatron on the field, is who he is off the field. Devonta is a self described “shy guy with a big heart.” There is a gentle spirit that surrounds him. He is humble, and you’d be hard pressed to find a drop of arrogance in this young man’s blood.
He already has future plans to come back to his community and make a difference. “I want to come back to my school and give speeches to the little ones. Give back to my high school, visit the players and give them all kinds of gear,” said Lee. “You know, I’ve always wanted to help people. The struggle that I’ve been through, it motivates me to want to do good things in life.” Though he has big plans for how he can help once becoming an NFL star, Lacresia notes that Devonta is already participating in youth outreach. He currently goes to the elementary school to give speeches and help out where it is needed. While some may have hesitations about being a role model for the next generation, Devonta embraces it. He say he is “excited to be a role model, and loves the opportunity.”
These big dreams need even bigger motivations to fuel them. So what is Devonta’s motivation? It’s an easy answer for him, his Mom. “She works so hard. I’m tired of seeing her struggle. So when that time comes, after I handle my business. I want to be able to retire her. She always motivates me and pushes me. Sometimes she tells me to stop working out, to take a break, but I told her ‘momma I gotta get it, I’m trying to be elite I don’t want to be average.’ But she understands. She just doesn’t want me to tear my body up. She supports me through it all. No matter what decision I make she’s coming. She’s always going to be my why. I love my momma so much. My #1 fan.”
Lacresia is absolutely Devonta’s #1 fan, and she could not be prouder of her son. “There is nothing more I can ask for. He’s the best kid ever. He doesn’t get into trouble, He does his work, He does great in school." Devonta may be a fine young man now, but his mom notes, he wasn’t always this way. “When he was young he was terrible. He used to run around fighting and cursing. Now, people can’t believe who he is compared to who he used to be. I just love the way he matured into the man he is today." Devonta knows these changes in behavior wouldn’t be possible without Lacresia, and two other very important people in his life, his grandmother and God. “I started going to church with my grandma. I don’t miss a Sunday. I gave my life to Christ and I’m enjoying it" said Devonta. "God is good and He has been blessing me, I cant thank him enough. I’ll continue to keep getting my blessings from God and keep worshipping him.”
Finally, when asked if there is anything Devonta wanted the LSU fan base to know about him, he said “I want them to know I’m a hard worker, lion hearted, a competitor, a go getter. Most importantly, I’m going to give Tiger Stadium something to look at, because I’m coming to be a legend in everything I do.”
Written by - Meghan Redd
Twitter - @Meghanredd #TheReddZone