Family-Driven Devin Asiasi Using Football to Chase a College Degree

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystMay 19, 2015

Devin Asiasi, the nation's No. 2 athlete, wouldn't mind playing in the NFL one day, but getting to college and becoming "a better Devin" for his family holds more weight to him.
Devin Asiasi, the nation's No. 2 athlete, wouldn't mind playing in the NFL one day, but getting to college and becoming "a better Devin" for his family holds more weight to him.Damon Sayles/Bleacher Report

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — As good as he is on the football field, Concord (California) De La Salle standout Devin Asiasi isn't the NFL dream chaser that many of his peers are. There's understandable irony with Asiasi as a 4-star prospect and someone who can excel on both sides of the football for a program with tons of national prestige.

Ask Asiasi what's the most important objective for him, and get a simple yet mature answer.

"I just want to be a better Devin," Asiasi said, his eyes behind sunglasses worn on a cloudy day to cover a minor eye issue. "Better for me, better for my family."

When you look at Asiasi on the field, the measurables are there. He measured at Nike's The Opening Oakland regional at 6'4" and 270 pounds. He's a muscular mold of a player who could play as many as five positions on the field. Watching him perform makes it easy to comprehend why he's a top-50 national prospect and the nation's No. 2 athlete overall.

But when it's Asiasi's turn to answer why he does the things he does on the field, you get somebody who has his own mission. An NFL contract would be great, but a better life for his family—led by his hard work after earning a college degree—trumps all.

"I'll be the first one in my family to go to college," Asiasi said. "That's my inspiration. That's what drives me every morning. Every time I see my cousins, they'll say, 'You're the one.' They say I'll be the one to show that you can do way more than what's being done."

Family means everything to Asiasi, the son of Dave Asiasi and Malia Pita Mapa, and making sure that family name is seen in a positive light is something the 2016 prospect focuses on daily. As a football player, he rarely disappoints, whether he's lined up as a tight end, defensive end, H-back, linebacker or any other position.

And at The Opening Oakland, he lined up at tight end and was one of the athletes who turned the most heads. For starters, he's a streamlined 270 pounds. To add, he has great hands as a tight end, the position he said many schools are recruiting him to play.

Currently, Asiasi has more than 20 offers from all of the Power Five conferences. USC is believed to be a favorite, but he said he is wide open with the process and is listening to a few schools.

"I've been talking to Miami a lot, actually," Asiasi said. "I'm talking to Washington a lot. I'm talking to USC, UCLA. They're all trying to reach out to me, so that's a good thing."

Asiasi said he's been to Cal the most, but he's recently visited Oregon, Washington and Washington State. He also went to Alabama during his spring break. He said that while he is open, Washington and Alabama have been his favorite visits so far.

"Washington is like San Francisco's field. I don't know why, but I got that vibe over there," he said. "The people out there are good people. With Alabama, it's just crazy out there. The people know all about the football team. They're all bought in. It's crazy."

The process humbles Asiasi, and he values the attention given from the multiple coaches across the country. While the coaches see him as an instant contributor at the next level of football, Asiasi sees football as an opportunity for growth—physically and mentally.

He has aspirations of one day earning a business degree and never having to worry about financial issues. He wants to buy his mother and father whatever they desire. He wants to be the breadwinner; there's tons of pride with that.

"God willing, I'll make it to the NFL and make all of that money," he said, "but for me, it's all about getting my education and going to college. Football is going to provide opportunities and open doors for me. I'll get my degree, get a great job and take care of my family.

"I'm all about family. I don't want my last name to be put to shame. I've got to hold my family's name up high and show we can do a lot. With me doing [football] and going as far as I can with it, I know it'll help me out and help my family out."

Credit: 247Sports

Before any of that, Asiasi said he has some things to work on. He wants to get faster and stronger, and he wants to become even more versatile on the field. Last season, he caught 16 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end and also recorded 33 tackles and five sacks as a defensive end, according to 247Sports.

To further show his versatility, Asiasi also rushed nine times for 65 yards and a touchdown. He is an athlete who can be used all over the field and is expecting to see his versatility utilized more during his upcoming senior season.

From a recruiting standpoint, Asiasi said he's seen almost every school he wants to see. Miami is one of the few schools still on his list to visit. He added that he will take visits to both USC and UCLA in June.

Asiasi doesn't have a set date of when he'll make a decision, but he said the winning program will have a great environment where he's surrounded by good people.

That, and academics, of course. Consider that his ticket to personal success, something that is beyond important to him for the good of his family.

"They say you don't go to a college for the coaches; you go to the college you want to go to," he said. "If football was not there, I would still want to go there. Plus, I'm all about academics. You always have to have a plan B, and I know if [football] doesn't work out, I'll have something to fall back on.

"I'm doing all this for my family. I'm going to take care of them."

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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