NFL Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Devin Butler, CB, Syracuse
What is your name?
My name is Devin Butler.
What is your Height/Weight?
6’1 195 pounds
What is your position?
Cornerback / Nickel
Where do you play college football?
3 Seasons at Notre Dame / 5th year at Syracuse
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Washington, D.C.
Who is your role model, and why?
My older brother Darius Butler. He was shot 5 times in 2008 and is a paraplegic. Today he makes music and raises his 8 year old daughter. He is someone who has been through one of the most traumatic experiences someone could go through and to this day he is super positive and motivates me just by the way he carries himself. He is living life to the fullest and has always been encouraging of me my entire life.
Who was your favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher was Professor Erika Doss in the American Studies department at Notre Dame. I got my degree in American Studies, and professor Doss was my advisor for my senior capstone. I had such a great experience learning from her and she helped me to hone my research and writing abilities in fun and interesting ways. I had this notion that it was going to be a dreadful experience full of long library nights and stressful office hours, but professor Doss made that one of my favorite classes in my undergrad.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
Growing up I played football and basketball. In high school I played football and ran track my first two years. I ran the 110 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles, Long Jump, and Triple Jump.
Who was the toughest player you ever faced?
The toughest player I ever played against was Jameis Winston my sophomore year. We travelled to FSU and that environment was crazy. We had him off schedule in the first half, but he came out in the second half and had only 1 incompletion. He was a fierce competitor and never folded in the face of pressure.
Who is the most underrated player on your team?
The most underrated player on the 2017 Syracuse Football Team is Parris Bennett. He was our starting Will backer. He had 100+ tackles the past two seasons and he leads by example. A guy that is always dependable and never takes a play off.
What is the one song that would fire you up before the biggest game of your life?
My older brother is a rapper. While he was in the hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds he recorded a song on his laptop called “For My Health” where he talks about his passion for music and the feelings about being an 18 year old confined to a wheelchair. I still remember the first time he played that song for me, I cried. I have listened to that song before every game since I was in the ninth grade.
If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?
I don’t think I play like one specific player, I have tried to study and immolate several NFL defensive backs, mostly Patrick Peterson and Chris Harris Jr. Both are very smart in man coverage and physical with receivers all day long. That is something I pride myself in.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle in my life occurred my senior year at Notre Dame. A misunderstanding occurred off-the-field, which led to a lot of confusion and adversity in my life. Throughout the entire process I remained positive and trusted in God, believing that the truth would surface. Long story short – all of my charges were dropped, I obtained my degree from Notre Dame, and transferred to Syracuse to play as a graduate transfer.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Right when the team gets to the the stadium I go out to the 50 yard line and kneel and say a prayer. This just helps me to feel calm on the field. I like to go out on the field before the fans get in the stands and just look around and tell God how thankful I am to be here healthy and playing the game I love.
What was the most memorable play of your collegiate career?
One of the most memorable plays of my career came my junior year at home versus USC. It was a big rivalry game. The game was close and we were punting to them up 4 with 3 minutes left. Our punter Tyler Newsome has a big leg and he boomed one deep left corner, I was split out wide right. As the gunner in a pin punt situation you’re taught to run to the goal line to protect from a touchback. Tyler’s punt bounces at the 7 and again at the 2 and I tapped it right at the goal line to pin them on the 1. They went three and out and we won the game.
What is the coolest thing you ever did off the field for someone else?
We had a lifelong Notre Dame fan named Keith who came to every practice and game. When he was born the doctors didn’t think he would survive longer than 48 hours, but here we are 65 years later. Right before I left South Bend to head to Syracuse I met up with Keith and gave him one of my jerseys. He is a true warrior and I miss seeing him at my practices and games.
Who was your favorite NFL team growing up?
Growing up I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan. Usually people look at me funny for being from DC and rooting for the rival team, but in reality a lot of people in DC root for the Cowboys so I wasn’t alone. DC stands for Dallas Cowboys.
If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would you choose?
If I could have dinner with three people I would choose Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, and LeBron James. Those three men that were/are great role models for young men to idolize.