Commentary

Devonte Fields keeps it simple

The UA All-American DE just works hard, tries to 'destroy' whomever he's up against

Originally Published: November 2, 2011
By Travis L. Brown | ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- On the Dallas/Fort Worth high school scene, Arlington Martin, despite having a successful program, can make it through a season flying under the radar.

However, Martin has begun a tradition of finding the national spotlight by producing individuals with the talent to be selected for the Under Armor All-America Game.

Following in running back Denzel Williams' footsteps, senior defensive end Devonte Fields accepted his jersey Tuesday to participate in this year's showcase on Jan. 5 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance presents the Under Armour All-America Game selection tour.

Although Fields is rated No. 68 in the ESPNU 150 for 2012, being named an All-American came as a surprise.

"Coach [Bob] Wager called me in his office and told me I was invited," Fields said. "I really didn't believe him, because it was crazy. I was in the last period of the day, ready to go home. [Wager] told me at the end of the day, right before practice, and it got me energized and ready to go."

It would seem Fields, a TCU commit, constantly finds a little extra energy for everything he does for Martin on the football field.

While he makes his home beating the offensive line and sacking quarterbacks at defensive end, he plays running back, wide receiver, tight end and is a part of every Martin special-teams package.

"He's had a kick return for a touchdown," Wager said. "He's scored defensively, he's scored on offense, he's scored receiving, he's scored rushing. When you get a special player like that, you have to use him wherever you can in high school football."

Fields draws double-teams on almost every play that he lines up at defensive end. Dare to match him up with just one lineman and the quarterback will most likely have an unpleasant meeting with the turf -- a punishment felt in full force by future TCU teammate and Arlington Bowie quarterback Kolby Listenbee earlier in the year, sending Listenbee to the sideline for two weeks.

"He's a disruptive terror," Wager said. "He will not be single-blocked. You've got to double-team him, and that creates opportunities for other guys. When you've got a difference maker like that, it makes it easier from a coaching standpoint because if he's in a one-on-one situation he's most likely going to win it."

With his athleticism, Fields will fit in well next year in Gary Patterson's always-athletic defense that has a pedigree of successful defensive ends, including current Indianapolis Colt Jerry Hughes.

Fields said joining a team with one of the best defenses in the nation over the past several years is a great motivation to become a better player who can get into the action as soon as possible. But that wasn't the only factor that led him to TCU. It was the family atmosphere, led by Patterson, that ultimately sold the Horned Frogs to Fields.

"He's cool," Fields said. "He's a little funny guy -- unless you get in trouble, then he'll get on to you. You've got to work and get past that and know that he loves you and keep playing."

Patterson shouldn't have any trouble keeping Fields in line after the training he received at Martin. He has been a team captain and a member of the Martin leadership council.

"It's not just a gifted athlete that has the opportunity to go down and showcase his skills, he's a guy that's made a 365-day commitment to being the very best person, student and football player he can be," Wager said.

Fields was also very excited by TCU's move to the Big 12 next season so his friends and family will be able to drive just down the street to the newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium or locations close to the Metroplex to watch him play.

Before he transitions into the life of a Horned Frog, he has a promising senior season to finish, including the chance at winning a district title.

After claiming a summer 7-on-7 national championship, the Warriors coasted through their first four games of the season, including a rivalry win over a good Bowie squad.

However, the high from the Bowie win was quickly eliminated by an unexpected loss to Arlington High. Since then, Martin has won out, posting a school-best 9-1 record with one game to play.

It was the lesson Fields learned from the Arlington speed bump that has served as a mantra for his career and his outlook on the UA All-America Game and his future career at TCU.

"We've got to practice hard every day and don't underestimate anyone, and whoever is on the field, we have to destroy them," Fields said.

Travis L. Brown covers high schools for ESPNDallas.com.

Travis L. Brown covers high schools for ESPNDallas.com. He is a graduate of TCU, where he was sports editor of the student paper, The Daily Skiff.