Stephens Ready for New Role in Del City Defense, He is Eagles Leader
DEL CITY -- The late afternoon sun was doing a number on the Del City Eagles as they worked team defense in the final half-hour of the third practice of the preseason.
"I need to see some juice," cracked Eagles head coach Mike Dunn. "If your juiceful then your useful."
That has to be one of Dunn's favorite sayings and he knows that number six has always got the juice. Stephens last season teamed with inside linebacker Rejhan Tatum to form one of the best linebacker duos in the state. That was with both being juniors. Now, Stephens, who just recently committed to Oklahoma State is moving back to the rover safety where he can make plays at all three levels on the defense. We knew he had that ability because this summer Pokes Report showed our readers Stephens getting bored at the i4Football Showcase Camp and he moved out to corner during the camp and covered every receiver he went up against.
Dunn loves him and so does former Oklahoma State standout Robert Jones, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.
"Coach really trusts me with that position and I can read the QB, and just kind of play into zones and different assignments game to game," answered Stephens when asked about the new position. "It is really a compliment to trust me with that position."
"Donnie has one speed and that is all out and I've told all the coaches that have come into recruit him that he has one speed and that is all out," Dunn said of his star that also rushed for 7.9-yards a carry and three touchdowns in limited work on offense. "He never has an off day and that is off season, summer pride, he is always going full speed and when have a guy like that pacing your team, that makes everybody better."
Stephens has a mini-me and that is Kanijal Thomas. The 6-0, 170 pound Thomas plays wide receiver and safety. This season expect to see him sometimes down at outside linebacker where Stephens played last season. Kanijal admits he looks up to Donovan. A good reason to look up to Stephens is his discipline and work ethic.
"My father, I got that from my father, him waking me up early to go to work with him," Stephens said in admiration. "I knew then that I wasn't going to be anything without work. He has helped me build that."
Del City has a chance for a very good football season and while Stephens is anxious and keeps an eye on what is going on at Oklahoma State, he says he is going to make the most of this last dance in Del City.
"It was back to work after the commitment," Stephens said. "It was a chance to get some of the weight off my shoulder, get my full mind on the team goal."
That is what Oklahoma State is getting, the kind of athlete you see in the safetys at Oklahoma State right now, but in even more of a physical linebacker frame than Malcolm Rodriguez. Stephens is going to be fun to watch this season and in future seasons wearing orange.