Davone Bess was dealt a tougher life than most.
Growing up in Oakland, California, he lived about as rough of a childhood as anyone—growing up with a mostly single mother and never having a true "father figure" to look up to. Additionally, at the age of 10, he witnessed the murder of his uncle at a birthday party.
But Bess would not allow himself to suffer a similar fate.
He became the first person on his father's side to pass high school and the first person in his family to attend college, showing that he wanted to break away from his troubled past and set the bar high for himself.
During his years at Skyline High School, Bess became a letterman in football, basketball, and baseball. In football, he was an All-City wide receiver and led the team to the league championship.
Although he was off to a good start, trouble had not escaped Bess's life completely.
After gaining a scholarship to play football at Oregon State University, he had it rescinded because of an incident where he allowed a friend to place stolen items in his car.
Bess was sent to a juvenile facility for 15 months. While there, he played flag football with fellow detainees. After one game in particular, he impressed a Hawaii scout enough to warrant a four-year scholarship to the University.
While at Hawaii, Bess put his talent on display.
In his first year with the team, Bess caught 89 passes for 1,124 yards and 14 touchdowns. The great season warranted a WAC First-Team selection and a WAC Freshman Of The Year award.
The following season, Bess improved on his already exceptional totals from the previous season. Seven more passes were caught; nearly 100 more yards were netted; and one more touchdown was scored. As a result, Bess gained another WAC First-Team selection.
In his final year with the Warriors, Bess set career highs for both receptions (106) and receiving yards (1,226).
Another accolade was in store for him. The Associated Press named Bess to the Third-Team All-American squad; a prestigious honor considering Hawaii's publicity and overrated reputation.
However, despite the numerous awards and impressive collegiate totals, Bess went undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.
However, the Miami Dolphins were willing to take a chance on him. He wasn't expected to produce much for the organization when he was signed, but things changed when slot receiver Greg Camarillo suffered an injury.
Bess stepped in for Camarillo and performed admirably. He scored his first career NFL touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens. At season's end, he ranked among the top rookie wide receivers.
His 54 receptions were good for third in the NFL among first-year players and second-best all-time among undrafted rookies.
Going into 2009, Bess is looking at a full-time gig as a starter. He developed chemistry with quarterback Chad Pennington and cemented himself as a reliable possession receiver in the league.
Given the fact that he is entering his second season in the league, Bess has the time to mature and blossom into a star, an honor that he deserves.
Even when he was faced with the toughest of times, he persevered, fought his way through, and came out a better person—and player—than ever before.