Deishan Layne: An Underdog With A Passion To Prove People Wrong

Deishan Layne’s love for football became clear as a sixth grader when he started playing for the Pop Warner

Deishan Layne’s love for football became clear as a sixth grader when he started playing for the Pop Warner team, Cypress Lake Hornets (Fla.) at age 14. That was also his first time playing tackle football. He said going from non-contact to contact football was new for him and he was concerned about it because of the injuries and toll on the body the sport produced but his desire to play grew nonetheless.

Layne describes himself as an underdog, someone who has always been in the background in terms of his recruiting process and also had a source of motivation in former teammate Jacob Tracey. Tracey transferred to Southwest Florida Christian Academy from Riverdale High School in Ft. Meyers, Florida.

Tracey left in the offseason before Layne’s junior year at Riverdale. In that time, Layne put in extra work doing drills to make sure that he could be better than Tracey.

“I had someone to push me and when it came to this year, that’s when I stepped up and started making plays. So, my name started getting out there, colleges were like ‘who is this kid?’ ‘What’s going on?’”

Deishan Layne is not ranked on any of the major recruiting services (247Sports, Scout, Rivals) and currently has no offers right now. He does know that senior year around the springtime is when recruiting starts getting pretty busy and if he plays well during his final year, offers can surely start to roll in.

“Proving people wrong. I’ve always had people [telling me] I can’t do certain things who know my athletic ability. I know my athletic ability [and] I know what I’m capable of doing and I like to prove people wrong. Know that okay, they say I can’t do something, I’m going to do everything in my power to show you that look, I’m up for that challenge, I’m up for that certain thing that you told me to do,” Layne said about what has been tough to overcome for him.

The six foot, 158 pound, Ft. Myers native and 2018 wide receiver recruit has high interest in these schools: South Florida (USF), Central Florida (UCF), Florida Atlantic (FAU) and Clemson are on his radar. He wants the first three to give him a look in particular.

A dream school and football program for him though is the Oregon Ducks. Here’s what he had to say about them:

“My dream school is probably Oregon. Why is that? It’s because there’s so much chemistry, family and competition at that school that it would be ridiculous to even be in that school. If you have that mindset and that burning passion to play that sport so much and you know you’re capable of going to that school than hey, I’m up for that challenge. That’s a school [where] not everyone wants to be but they got the uniforms, they got the fans and they got that wow [factor] at that school. I’ve always liked that school because of that and you always have a bunch of athletes there.  I’m talking about like receivers, running backs, quarterbacks running in the 4’s in the 40 [yard dashes] and stuff. It’s like a dream school. I’ve always wanted to go there for sports and once I knew I’m ready to be at that school knowing 100 percent that I put in that work to get to where I am today to get to that school than yeah, that was always my dream school.”

Layne plans to make his commitment decision his senior year once football and basketball season is over for him. If he doesn’t like the offers he has to his name at the time of his commitment, he plans to walk on at a school of his choice.

As far as what Deishan Layne can bring to a University on and off the field, character and big playmaking ability on the field are among the things he listed. Off the field, he can bring a bright personality and be someone who will encourage his teammates, make sure everyone is on the same page as a team and make others laugh.

“…I still have to work on myself and make sure I’m right with my grades or anything that I do whether it’s in the classroom or out of the classroom. I’m just a funny guy, I like to laugh a lot, and I like to hang out with friends as well so I’m a great overall teammate on and off the field.”

“…I [knew] the basics but I already had the athletic ability and the skills. What made me want to play football was I had this desire of playing. Every time I played, it was just a good feeling. I don’t know how to put it into words but it just made me a better person and accomplish my goals,” he said. “My goal was, seeing other athletes make it to the NFL, I’ve always wanted to do that. So, seeing other people striving and meeting their goals, it affords me to do the same as well so I have had that determination and that mindset since I was small. It just came to me naturally.”

He knew that he had the talent to play the first time he put pads on and his introduction to the Oklahoma Drill helped him realize that.

“My first time going head up, I got ran over because obviously, I didn’t know about it. Once we kept going at it and at it and at it, it really built me into that football character and how the sport was. So, me hitting someone and running them over, it was like, it felt great. Once we got to running routes and make them crisp, I knew I had the athletic ability and the talent. It was a God-given talent.”

“…When I [went] on the football field, that’s when I really knew ‘okay, this is what I love to do and this is what I’m going to continue doing and being the person I am today,’” he added.

Layne also credits his uncle, Eloy Hernandez for molding him into the person he is today. Layne didn’t have a father figure in his life growing up so he said that he kind of did everything on his own even though he had his mom and other family members behind him in support.

“So my uncle, He’s seen me develop in sports, and he’s seen me and how I have that passion for [football] and he would always come and help me out. Either with me running my routes and him throwing the ball or him coming to my games supporting me,” he said. “So he kind of showed me the way and that path and he always told to make sure I stayed in school and make sure my grades were up no matter what.”

Layne said that Hernandez also told him to always have a backup plan and fall back on his education because education is the most important thing to him.

“…Him supporting me in everything that I do, I kind of look up to him as [a] father since I didn’t have a father around.”

Layne wants to major in either broadcast journalism or athletic training in college.

“If I didn’t make it in sports or what not, that would be my fall back. Being someone on SportsCenter, I know it’d be hard but you’re going to have to find certain people to be up for that because I know there’s a lot of politics and you have to know people to get there because it’s a hard career.”

On the field, it doesn’t take long for Deishan Layne to get behind a defense and make a play which I was impressed with right away after looking at his film. If you ask him what stands out about his play, he’ll tell you it’s his explosiveness.

“My explosion first thing off of the line [of scrimmage]. I feel like once I get on the field, I have this mindset, I need to go out there like every receiver actually thinks, is okay, none of the cornerbacks can guard me. That’s what you have to think,” he said. “You to go out there in the mindset where okay, I know what I’m capable of doing, I know the type of player I am, just go out there and put on a show. When I see a defender, I’m just like, okay, I know what I’m capable of doing, I know I’m quick off the line, I just have to go out there and make a play. So [with] my athletic ability, I know have that burst, that explosion, quick feet, footwork, that’s the type of athlete I am.”

He did also say his work ethic needs to improve in terms of getting better at his footwork, strength, and quickness.

The Riverdale Raiders went 2-7 (0-2 District) in 2016 and Deishan Layne not only describes himself as an underdog but his team as well.

“The most I’ll miss about playing for Riverdale is that family bond we had and that underdog type feeling. Everyone knew we had a 1,000-pound line, we had athletes left and right but we weren’t up to that potential of a playoff team. We were always that underdog type. We knew what we were capable of doing but we didn’t perform and we had to fix a couple mistakes.”

When his time is all said and done at Riverdale, Layne is going to miss the team’s work ethic that the team had as a whole and mentioned that the team backed up one another whether they won as a team or lost as a team.

“I want to leave letting everyone know who Deishan Layne was. Not in a bragging way of ‘hey I can be a great athlete,’ but as a person character-wise. Just how he was always making people laugh if they’re having a bad day, helping with homework or better another athlete to be at the level where I was or better than the other person. In the classroom as well, with my teachers, just overall I just want people to know the kind of person I was and the kind of work ethic I put in and how much potential I had.”

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Anthony R Brown II