Former Bastrop Ram Denzel Devall reported Monday for his first day on the job as Alabama's player development personnel assistant.
Turning the page on his playing career, Denzel Devall is staying in football. He's just seeing the game from a different angle nowadays.
One thing hasn't changed. Devall is still chasing national championship rings at the University of Alabama.
Hired by coach Nick Saban as the program's first player development personnel assistant, Devall reported Monday for his first day of work.
In his new role, Devall is working behind the scenes.
“It's mainly geared toward operations,” said Devall, who helped Alabama to two national titles as a linebacker/defensive end. “Basically, we handle anything to do with player problems, so all the coaches have to do is coach.”
Although he is not involved in hands-on coaching, Devall could not have asked to start in a better place.
“There's a lot of upside to this job, and it's something I think I'm going to enjoy doing,” Devall said. “I feel like I'm in a great spot, working for the most popular man on the planet. A lot of people will argue with that, but it is what it is.”
Devall had other offers, but working for Saban was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“I went to Tuscaloosa and talked to coach Saban, and we got to visit and joke around,” Devall said of his interview. “I really wanted to stay at Bama and work under coach Saban, so it all worked out.”
Having played for Saban for four years, Devall has seen a side of the legendary coach that is seldom portrayed in public.
“We joke around all the time,” Devall said. “We have a great relationship.”
Devall says his new position is multi-faceted.
“I touch base with academics, I touch base with recruiting and I touch base with players who need somebody to talk to,” said Devall, who holds degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on exercise science. “It fits me because I am basically doing what I did when I was on the team. I'm fresh and I have ideas to share with the players and help them out. It's a win-win situation.”
Signed by Alabama as a four-star recruit out of Bastrop High, Devall played in 50 games (25 starts) during his career with the Crimson Tide, and was part of national championship teams as a freshman and senior (2012, 2015).
Following a tryout with the Los Angeles Rams, Devall accepted the fact that his NFL career wasn't going to pan out. Due in part to a hamstring injury, he later declined a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens. Devall says his playing career is over. He has no desire to make a comeback or to play for an Arena League or semi-pro team. Instead, Devall is diving head-first into his backup plan.
“I never wanted to be one of those guys who kept going back and forth, waiting on a shot,” Devall said. “Sometimes you have to go with Plan B and run with it. At the end of the day, God has a plan for you. It may not be your plan, but if you believe in it, it will work.”