NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Devon Key, S, Western Kentucky

Devon Key is a great leader and versatile defender for Western Kentucky. He recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I redshirted my first year at Western Kentucky. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Sports Management December of 2019.  I’m currently pursuing my masters in Sports Media and Branding. I’m only a few classes away from completing that. I had an internship with Athletic Sports Marking in 2019.

I’ve also participated in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. That’s where 2 people from each sport across the university get together and discuss some of the needs and rule changes. During this pandemic, it’s been very important to be involved in that committee. We have had several Zoom meetings and a few in person meetings about our situations.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that being a leader who leads by example is my best quality. I’m a 2-time team captain, Most of my teammates look at me in order to know the right way of doing things, especially the freshman.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I was a 4-year starter at Western Kentucky. My role has really been the guy with the high football IQ that understands the defensive schemes. I’ve also been part of special teams on punt coverage. I’m there as a protector and also a gunner. Our base defense is a 4-2-5. I’m listed as a free safety, but I play all over the field. I’ll play the single high position but will also walk down in the box to play the run. I’ve also been used as a nickel linebacker.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
This past season, we played BYU. Zach Wilson is easily the best player that I’ve ever played. He has a good feel for defenses and we did our best to not show him too much because we knew he was going to find the weakness. HIs receiver Dax Milne is also a good one. He has very deceiving speed and runs pretty good routes.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Another one of our safeties, Antwon Kincade shows good work ethic and always comes ready to play. Jahcour Pearson was a slot receiver that I practiced with that earned my respect. He was very shifty and you have to stay keyed in with him in order to keep up.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
My 2017 season brought me many challenges. That was the year my mom was dealing with breast cancer. Being away from her and having to focus on academics and football was hard. I always had her on my mind. Yet, she did a great job of fighting through, and she’s doing good now. I also tore my labrum that year. I sat out one game and wore a brace throughout the rest of the season. I knew I needed surgery after our bowl game. I had to sit out all of Spring ball, get through rehab and work myself back into shape all throughout the summer. That desire to get me back on the field kept me going. I was healthy and had earned my starting job back in the fall when the season began.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Baseball. I played all through high school at centerfield. I played varsity for 4 years. I made the All-City Team as a junior.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
I’m most proud of my 5 month old son. Being a father has been challenging at times, but it’s also a huge blessing.

One of my biggest achievements on the football field was when I broke the FBS team record for career tackles at Western Kentucky with 350. My personal best in tackles per game was when I had 15 against Liberty in 2020. I was named to the All-Conference Freshman Team in 2017 and was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team in 2020.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
That first career INT versus Marshall was special. We were supposed to run the corner blitz which we checked in and out of. I stuck with my man who was on a go-route. Sticking to him like glue I was able to make a play on the ball stopping him from scoring a touchdown and getting the touchback on the turnover.

I had 2 pick sixes which were also fun. In 2018, that one was against Maine and was a 45 yard return. In 2019, that pick six was a 25 yard return. Both were very special because I was able to score points for my team.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
I model my game after Jamal Adams who I play similar to. He’s a big physical safety who’s known for being a run defender in the box yet can also cover very well. Any team that’s going to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity to showcase my talent is going to be my favorite team.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Lil Uzi Vert is my favorite artist. When it’s game day, I’ll just put his stuff on shuffle and let it go. It’s all good.

What is your favorite comfort food?
My Mom’s Cajun Shrimp Pasta is the bomb.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite movie is “Straight Outta Compton”, and my favorite TV show is “Prison Break”.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like to play cards and cornhole with my family and friends. A hobby I picked up back in high school was photography.

Who or what motivates you the most?
My family. My mom, dad, brother and especially my son. My family has always supported me in everything that I have done. I hope that one day after I make it that I’ll be able to give back to them in some way.

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