By Jerry Del Priore
Former Chiefs defensive standout Devonte Malone was arguably the best player on the team in 2015. That speaks volumes as Malone didn’t start playing organized football until his freshman year at Canarsie Educational Campus High School.
He learned the game quickly, and went on to become a defensive stalwart at CEC, where he attended Urban Action Academy. After carving out a solid career at the school, he decided to continue his ascend on the gridiron at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy N.Y.
Malone, who tied an all-time team record with 21 sacks last season with Kamari Jones-Hunter, who’s now in his second year at Monroe College, believes he’s just beginning to hit his promise in stride. And Hudson Valley is the right fit for him to develop as a football player.
“I feel like I have a lot of potential to reach,” Malone said. “I really just started to learn how to play football. I feel Hudson Valley, for the next two years, is a good opportunity for me. I do want to play at a big school (someday).”
Moreover, the better competition is raising Malone’s level of play, something he said is to his liking.
“It feels good to play here,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition. You have to beat out a lot of players to get in the rotation. It’s making me a better football player.”
Malone arrived early at camp on August 1st, and he said he was seeing a lot of first team reps. But he suffered a minor concussion in practice a few weeks ago. So, he’s waiting until he receives full medical clearance to hit the field before the Vikings’ season opener on Sunday against Morrisville JV.
However, the 19-year-Buswick native isn’t overly concerned with the injury, and believes he will be in uniform come game time.
“I’m confident I will be on the roster in the home opener,” Malone said. “I feel good. I’m not worried. I’m just waiting to get cleared. This Tuesday I will be in full pads, and Wednesday (both before press time) I should be officially cleared for full contact.”
But football is only part of the equation for Malone, who plans on studying Criminal Justice at HVCC.
“I feel blessed to play football on this level,” he said. “In high school, I was focused mostly on getting better at football. But I’m ready to focus on my studies, too.”
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