By David Krueger Herald Writer
Mountlake Terrace’s Devante Downs got the text in class, called his dad and then tried to get a hold of his coach, who was unavailable.
He had big news.
Downs was informing them that he had been selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl, the premier high school all-star football game in January at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I was super excited. I almost yelled in class,” Downs said. “I called my dad right away.”
Then Downs tried calling his coach, Tony Umayam, to tell him what was going on and because he needed paperwork signed. But he couldn’t get through to Umayam, who was on vacation with his family in Mexico. Eventually, he reached Umayam via e-mail to tell him the good news.
“He was trying to text me and the texts weren’t going through. He shot me an e-mail and I got it late one night and I was pretty excited about hearing that,” Umayam said. “He was pretty excited about the call that he got. I know that’s been a goal of his for a while, to play in that game. It was pretty exciting to hear about it.”
Umayam said Downs has a unique combination of size and athleticism that really makes him dangerous on the field. The coach says the junior has helped put Mountlake Terrace football on the map, and always puts the team’s success above his own.
“He’s been a great player for us so far, playing varsity at the running back position since the third game of his freshman year,” Umayam said. “I know that he has personal goals that he has when it comes to racking up the yardage and scoring touchdowns, but I know that he’s really been putting the team’s success out in front.
“We have the opportunity to put together one of the best seasons Terrace has ever had next year if we can stay healthy and really come together as a team. Devante’s been a huge part of bringing the program to places it’s never been before.”
Downs, who is being recruited by nearly every Pac-12 school, including Oregon, Washington and Stanford, talked to somebody from the selection committee about three months ago who told Downs they “were aware of” him. Recently Cincinnati got in touch with Downs, evidence that his recognition is increasing across the country.
Last year Downs went down to the All-American Bowl for a combine event the week of the game. Those who attended the combine got to go to the game for free. This January, Downs will once again be at the Alamodome. But this time, instead of being in the stands, he will be out on the field.
“It’s crazy,” Downs said. “It’s another opportunity to show that I’m not just good in this region. I can compete with the best of the best and I’m ready to show that.”