Devin Asiasi knows that his life is ripped straight out of the script from the 2014 De La Salle football-inspired ‘When the Game Stands Tall’. He is a star football player from the wrong side of the tracks. He talks openly about how he has been driven to football success by the failings he has witnessed first hand in his own family. Alcohol. Drugs. Gangs. He witnessed it all first-hand, then emerged more determined than ever that he would never fall into the same trap. Instead, he’s worked all the way up to the mountaintop, a summit he could reflect upon during his personal stop on the the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“This was always a goal in the back of my mind,” Asiasi told USA TODAY High School Sports shortly after his ceremony at De La Salle in Concord, Calif. “I was definitely trying to shoot for something like this. It being here and accomplishing something I dreamed about … it’s crazy.
“Going to watch this game and see how many future stars were in this game, it was always something I wanted to be a part of. You grow up watching this game. I’ve always been attracted by the people in (the U.S. Army All-American Bowl). I always wanted to be in something like this.”
Now he’s there, thanks to plenty of hard work and a quintessentially De La Salle attitude that has seen him star on both sides of the ball and do whatever his coach, Justin Alumbaugh, asks of him when he walks on the field. And there’s plenty of work still to do. Fitting for a Spartan, Asiasi won’t talk about specific goals, just the constant drive to improve and work toward the state bowls. The odds are good that Asiasi and his teammates will get there again, and weeks later he’ll be in San Antonio representing Northern California in a fitting send-off to his high school career.
The tight end and defensive end, who is considered an “athlete” prospect in part because of his superior versatility, has already decided that he won’t decide on his college future until National Signing Day. That means he’s sure to get plenty of attention from future Army Bowl teammates intent on swaying his decision.
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Not that such tactics will catch his eye. A Spartan always remains focused on the end result, without time for such trivial distractions.
“Once my family saw me having success in football and school, they hopped on the wagon and supported me, helped me make my own path and find my own way,” Asiasi said. “What I’m doing is going to influence the next generation. That’s my drive every day. Everything to me is about family, God and the people who are most important in my life. That’s really all you need to know about me.
“There aren’t many people that are going to be able to play football after (their) high school (season ends). It’s a blessing. It’s not something you want to regret missing out on any part of.”