By Hector Longo
---- — HAVERHILL — Long and thin, Jaylin Deveau didn’t exactly ooze physical greatness as a Whittier Tech freshman.
But Whittier Tech football coach Kevin Bradley saw something special that caught his eye. Even then, he knew.
“Every time I saw the kid, this skinny kid, he was carrying a gym bag,” said Bradley. “I knew his work ethic was special, even then, and you see it in what he’s filled out to.”
Now a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior, Deveau, of Bradford, cashed in on all that hard work officially yesterday, signing his national letter of intent to play on scholarship at Sacred Heart University.
“I’m so happy,” said Deveau, whose final decision came down to either Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn., or Wagner in New York City. “Sacred Heart costs about $49,000 a year. I’ll be getting about $40,000 from them.”
Deveau projects as a tight end at the Division 1 level, and Bradley says that his future is bright.
“We used him in so many different ways, and he made some incredible jumps year to year,” said Bradley. “He went from running back as a junior to a flex tight end as a senior. The change in him as amazing. He became a devastating, punishing blocker. He leaps off the screen in his highlight film.
“Now, he’ll be focusing in on one spot, he’s bound to make another big leap or two.”
Deveau, who is only 17, celebrated at home yesterday with his mom Nicole, his sister and his grandparents, with whom he lives in Bradford.
“She’s so proud of everything I’ve ever done. She’s been there at every football game I’ve played,” said Deveau.
“She brags about me on Facebook and everything. She’s told more people than I’ve told.”
Playing and studying down in Fairfield County will also offer an easier opportunity for Deveau to continue to build a relationship with his father.
“I had never even met him until last year,” said Deveau. “I’m still getting to know him, but he seems like a pretty good guy. He came up to see about half of our games this fall. It will be nice, since he’ll be only about an hour and a half away.”
Bradley is just proud of what will be his third Division 1 prospect to move on out of his football program.
A baseball player who played hoops for three years before switching over to wrestling this past winter, Deveau made sure to get the work done in the classroom.
“That’s a credit to his mother,” said Bradley. “He’s got a 3.3 GPA and is one of the nicest kids you will find on this campus.”
“I’m not sure if it’s really hit me yet,” said Deveau, who is rated in the top third of his class. “Every day in school kids come up to me and congratulate me about it. But I’ve earned it. I’m glad I put the work in. I can’t wait.”