Caleb Deveaux has played football since he was four years old. For most of his decade-plus football career, he has played defense at either linebacker or defensive end.
As a freshman at Marvin Ridge, Deveaux made the Mavericks’ varsity team as an outside linebacker. But when first-year, Marvin Ridge football coach Aubrey Carter took over the program in May, he had Deveaux spend some of his spring practice working at running back.
While Carter didn’t make a final decision until later, he thought Deveaux had potential in the Mavericks’ offensive backfield.
“We saw a lot of potential in Caleb as a running back in the spring, but we didn’t make a final decision that he would play there until fall camp,” said Carter, who spent 12 seasons as a Lake Norman High football assistant and played offensive line for Mars Hill in college. “Of course, when he earned the starting spot at running back, we felt like he could be a good player for us. But I don’t know if anyone thought he would get this good this fast.”
Deveaux, now 15 and a sophomore, spent a lot of his offseason working on his running back skills with his older brother, Elijah, who is a three-time all-state running back at Charlotte Christian (Duke football commit) and his father, Glenn, a former University of Pittsburgh running back.
“I worked very hard this season to be prepared to also play the running back position, from reading holes to being patient and following blocks,” said Deveaux. “But when practice started, I didn’t care where I played, I just want to be on the field.”
Deveaux has exploded for 1,059 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in his first nine games. He averages 118 yards and a touchdown per game with 7.1 yards per carry.
At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he’s tough to stop. He compiled a 21-carry, 205-yard performance in a win at Cuthbertson and a 186-yard, three touchdown effort against Sun Valley.
Deveaux has done most of his damage in the Mavericks’ six game winning streak as Marvin Ridge (6-3, 3-0 in the Southern Carolinas’ conference ) recovered from an 0-3 start.
While Deveaux is playing a major role, the Marvin Ridge offense, which is averaging 406 yards and 32 points per game, has weapons all over the field.
Junior quarterback, Austin Colonna (2,363 yards passing, 19 touchdown passes) and wide receivers Emeka Emezie (51 catches for 767 yards and nine touchdowns), Austin Leshock (49 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns) and Devin Adkins (38 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns) have all played key roles.
The Mavericks’ offensive line also has been big – literally – with center John Arthur (5-9, 215), left guard D’Mitri Emmanuel (6-3, 300), left tackle John Wells (6-4, 250), right guard Cooper Donahue (6-4, 280) and right tackle Ian White (6-4, 210) opening holes.
Deveaux said the entire team is having fun.
“It feels great to be a part of a winning team that is getting more confident every week, gelling together and having fun doing it,” Deveaux said. “We feel like we can accomplish a lot more this season.”
Deveaux also keeps an eye on what his older brother, Elijah, is doing each week at Charlotte Christian. He said while he and his brother “are each other’s biggest fans,” they also compete in everything they do.
“Elijah has taught me a lot about playing football,” Caleb said. “But the best thing he does is just motivate me to work hard every day, because I want to be better than him.”
Caleb, who doesn’t turn 16 until March 2, is an impressive physical package. He can bench 325 pounds, squat 450 and run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash.
He also has received his first college football offer from the University of Pittsburgh. That came on Oct. 17.
“I still have two more years in high school to see how much better I can get,” Deveaux said. “I’m excited about being a part of helping Marvin Ridge get back on top. I hope to play in a lot of big games for this team.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.