Football has brought DeVier Posey from his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, to suiting up for Ohio State, to various NFL stops and now North of the border. We caught up with Posey to discuss his career at OSU, what he’s up to now in the CFL and what the future looks like for him.
The Spun: Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your recruiting process like coming out of high school? What approach did Ohio State take and what other schools were you considering?
DeVier Posey: Oh man, you’re taking me back (laughter). It was an interesting process. I didn’t play varsity until my junior year, so I had more basketball offers and track interest up until that point. Then, I had a big junior year and was All-State. I followed that up by playing basketball and going to a few camps that year in the springtime. I ended up getting on the podium at the state (outdoor track) championships. I felt like coaches were always iffy about me until they figured out I was fast and played all these different sports.
I had grown up liking Oklahoma and USC. Because of Reggie Bush, Jason White, Adrian Peterson, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart and all those great receivers they had. I didn’t really know much about Ohio State growing up. I’m from Cincinnati but in Cincinnati we don’t really hear about Ohio State much. There was no social media. Either University of Cincinnati games were on, Miami (Ohio), Xavier basketball, Kentucky basketball or Louisville. Ohio State was off the radar. But I got to know Jim Tressel. He came by and absolutely murdered his in-home visit and I mean that in the best way possible. Him and Darrell Hazell, the wide receivers coach, they just had an unbelievable presentation. Plus we had some other guys like Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Mike Brewster. We had one of the best recruiting classes in the country and we were all kind of recruiting each other. So Ohio State was a no-brainer.
TS: You say Jim Tressel killed his in-home visit. What stood out from him when you were being recruited and then when you played under him?
DP: Personable. He’s one of the people who knows everyone in your family, what they’re doing, what they’re involved in. That was one thing that I was fond about with him: his attention to detail and how much of a human he was. I hope that doesn’t sound crazy. The things that he would ask me to do off the field, like my freshman year, he asked me to speak to the student body. I asked him why, and he said ‘I want to take the future leaders of my team to connect with the school on a bigger level.’ That’s just one example of what he did. He could get in touch with you on a different level.
TS: You guys had a top 10 class and had Terrelle Pryor, who was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the class that year. Ohio State had also played in the national championship the two years before that. Was there any added pressure because of that?
DP: That’s what you get coming to Ohio State, those expectations. I think we were like preseason ranked No. 2 my freshman year. But they had guys like Brian Hartline, Brian Robiskie, Ray Small who were playing, Dane Sanzenbacher. My biggest goal was to be able to make the travel team. I was able to dress and then all of a sudden, they throw me in my first game, Todd Boeckman throws me a hitch route and I score the first time I touched the ball at Ohio State. From that moment on, I felt like ‘Okay, I can play at this level and make an impact.’
TS: When you look back at what happened to you and Terrelle [Pryor] and some of the other guys your senior year, with the suspension [for selling team gear], and you hear the conversation that’s everywhere now about athletes being paid or being able to profit off their likeness, it isn’t reality yet but it seems to be getting more popular support. What is it like to see that? Have you followed that conversation?
DP: Of course I follow that conversation. I feel like my story and what we went through is part of the reason why kids are getting paid more now and the reason why they have the system they have in place for championship rings or rewards. The NCAA is a running business plan. When I say that, I say it in the most respectful way. It’s an institution that is coming up with rules and dealing with different things as we speak. They had to come up with the Twitter rules. When I was coming out of high school, coaches were allowed to text message during the beginning of the recruiting process and then toward the end they weren’t allowed to text.
For us, we sold the rings and got money for it. Now, the rule is you don’t get your championship rings until you graduate. You get everything at once. I’ve paid attention to it. I’ve said no to stories from Outside the Lines and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel because I just wanted to get my career going in the NFL. But it’s something that has impacted me and how I look at things and I think my perspective is very unique because I have a different relationship with the NCAA and view them in a different light. I understand that their practices are a bit underdeveloped. It seems as though it’s a great institution and things are the way they should be but they’re trying to figure out the right way to go about things like kids are. More importantly, the kids make so much money for the university. It’s important for kids to realize what they are getting into. They’re getting into a business deal. They’re giving you however much it costs for a degree over four years, and in exchange, you’re giving them services.
TS: We heard that when you were at Ohio State that you and Terrelle Pryor used to tear it up in intramural and pickup hoops. Is that true? How good were you guys?
DP: (Laughing) I was on the intramural team and me and TP used to dominate some games. It’s kind of funny, that’s how I met Terrelle when we were younger. We both played AAU basketball. We would always meet up in the championship [in AAU]. It was kind of cool to be able to go in in the off-season at Ohio State and tear it down on the courts.
TS: I know Terrelle was a pretty high-level Division I hoops recruit? Could you have played D-I basketball as well if you wanted to? How about track?
DP: I had some track offers from down South schools. I had basketball offers from some small ACC and SEC schools. Akron recruited me. Coach Jeff Boals, he was at Akron at the time, he’s now at Ohio.
TS: After college, your professional football journey has taken you from the Houston Texans to the New York Jets, you had to deal with injuries and now you’re playing in Canada. What has that whole experience been like with you and what is it specifically like playing in Canada? How does it compare to playing in America?
DP: My football journey has been amazing. It’s taken me all over. The teammates that I’ve been able to become close with and bond with and the friends I have for life, it’s amazing. There really isn’t much difference as far as preparation between the two leagues [NFL and CFL]. I would say there is a financial difference in pay and how much each league is worth. But the CFL is a first-class league, A-1 as far as professionalism and to better yourself. I just appreciate both leagues.
TS: Which guys that you played with at Ohio State are you still in touch with?
DP: Oh man, I got a group chat with Boom Herron and Mike Adams and probably the guy I’m most closest with his Etienne Sabino. He was a linebacker and team captain. He played for Urban and played for Tressel and was the best man at my wedding. We always get together and speak. It’s therapeutic when you get to talk to the boys.
TS: Last question: have you met or had a chance to meet Ryan Day in person? How do you feel about him taking over?
DP: I haven’t had a chance to meet him but I’m excited. I’ve heard some great things about his offensive mentality and how he’s a great recruiter. I think I might make it down there this April to have a chance to meet him.
TS: Do you think it would have been a fun offense for you to have played in, with the style of offense he runs?
DP: Oh man, I wish I could have played in that offense. It would have been a great time.