Alumni Update: NFL Linebacker Devante Downs

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Alumni Update: NFL Linebacker Devante Downs

A rookie for the Minnesota Vikings, Devante Downs (MTHS '14) was an incredible two-way player for the Hawks. He played special teams in the Vikings 21-7 loss to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, Dec. 10 at Century Link Field.

A rookie for the Minnesota Vikings, Devante Downs (MTHS '14) was an incredible two-way player for the Hawks. He played special teams in the Vikings 21-7 loss to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, Dec. 10 at Century Link Field.

© HAWKEYE Jake Paulsene

A rookie for the Minnesota Vikings, Devante Downs (MTHS '14) was an incredible two-way player for the Hawks. He played special teams in the Vikings 21-7 loss to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, Dec. 10 at Century Link Field.

© HAWKEYE Jake Paulsene

© HAWKEYE Jake Paulsene

A rookie for the Minnesota Vikings, Devante Downs (MTHS '14) was an incredible two-way player for the Hawks. He played special teams in the Vikings 21-7 loss to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, Dec. 10 at Century Link Field.

By Gavin Norley, Audio-Visual Editor

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Devante Downs is a Mountlake Terrace football legend.

Now he takes the field for the Minnesota Vikings.

Downs could play both sides of the ball on the field and in his junior season at Terrace, he put up 1,271 rushing yards and scored 23 touchdowns as a running back. Downs also hit hard as a linebacker. His versatility and ability in coverage helped lead Terrace that year to the postseason for just the second time in school history.  Downs’s senior year was sadly cut short as he spent most of the season on the sidelines due to a torn ACL.

Downs was still a top prospect and was being recruited heavily. On August 15, 2013, he committed to play football for the University of California Golden Bears. He chose the Golden Bears over schools such as Washington or Oregon because he “always wanted to live in California and would visit there as a kid.”

Downs was made a full-time defensive player for the Bears early on. That shift in moving to linebacker full time was no sweat for Downs. His senior year at Cal he was the leader for their defense with 65 total tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Numbers like that are why Downs was named Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Week twice in that season.

Even more impressive is that those numbers were earned through just seven games. Downs didn’t play a full season his senior year because in a game against Washington State he suffered a season-ending knee injury.

After his impressive four years with the Golden Bears, Downs’ next step was the NFL. In the 2018 NFL draft, Downs was picked 225th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round. Downs has the good fortune of being on a team with some of the best defensive players in the league. “

Being around great football players helps you integrate skill into your game and getting better,” he said in a telephone interview last week from Minnesota.

Downs has seen the field a handful of times his rookie year. In the nine games he has played this year, he has gotten two solo tackles and one assisted tackle. He said his goal in the NFL is to “get better every day in the NFL and realize my full potential.”

Downs is a great example of a student-athlete working his hardest day-in and day-out. Even after suffering two major injuries that have the reputation of ending careers, he still kept going. Downs has a long career ahead of him and when asked what advice he would give to all student-athletes at Terrace he said: “Take it seriously. Every little thing adds up. Don’t skip workouts or practice.”

Downs is proof that if someone wants a goal achieved, they can get there with perseverance and strength.

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