What are Devante’s strengths as a football player?
Lattimer: Devante just plays extremely hard. He’s very explosive, and he’s a student of the game as well. He’s going to try to be the best he can be no matter what he does. He’s got a high motor and he’s very, very fast for a defensive player.
What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from junior college to the Big 12 Conference?
Lattimer: Probably learning the schemes that coach Glenn Spencer and the Cowboys do down there, and being able to play against the level of competition that the Big 12 brings every weekend. I have no doubt in my mind that Devante can play on that level.
Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Lattimer: I would be highly surprised if he was not starting for them next year. He’s just one of those type of players, he’s an impact player. Of course he was a two-time all-conference player here for us, a first-team selection this year (in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference), and a first-team All-American at the junior college level. He was also the conference player of the year, and we finished fifth in the conference, which I think speaks volumes about how much of an impact he was for us. I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll have an impact for the Cowboys.
Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State after originally giving a verbal commitment to West Virginia?
Lattimer: When he took the visit down there to Stillwater he just absolutely loved the people there, loved the program, loved what they have in store for him academically. Devante is a focused young man. He knows he’s not going to be able to play football forever. He wants to play at the highest level possible but he knows that one day he’ll have to fall back on his degree to be able to get a job and be able to raise his family, and take care of himself. I think they presented a good package to him down there, especially the academic side of things, and that’s what really sparked an interest with Oklahoma State.
What do you think he is capable of accomplishing over the course of his college career at OSU?
Lattimer: I think he can accomplish a lot. It’s just a prediction but I predict he can be an Big 12 all-conference player and even possible All-American. Devante is a special player, one of a handful of guys I’ve coached over the last 10 years that is one of the best that I’ve been around.
What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Lattimer: One of the things I’m most proud of Devante is that he was focused enough that he graduated from junior college in 18 months, three semesters. He took full loads of 18-plus hours during the fall and spring semesters, he took winter interims and summer classes. He was focused enough to do that because he knew he wanted to transfer out in December. That’s what I’m most impressed with him about. Also, just his leadership abilities on the field. He was a force of nature out on the gridiron, and folks that we played against they noticed that and they were worried about playing against him. I’ll also remember that guys don’t play like Devante does. He plays from the start of the whistle until it’s over. Kids don’t play that hard every single snap every ballgame like he does. No matter what Devante does, he wants to be the best at it – whether it’s writing a paper, painting a fence, Nintendo games. Whatever he’s doing, he wants to be the absolute best at it. He competes at a level in which nobody is going to beat him. That’s his mindset and I think that’s what made him successful on the football field and in the classroom as well.