Jordan Devey: From high school tuba player to Memphis Tiger

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Memphis senior offensive lineman Jordan Devey (No. 64) sits on the sideline during a game. Devey didn't play football in high school football — he played the tuba in the band. He decided to give football a try after his LDS mission.

University of Memphis Media Relations

There was a time when Jordan Devey’s plan was to attend Utah Valley University, play in the band and study to teach music.

But plans have a way of changing.

Instead, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound American Fork native is a starting offensive lineman for the University of Memphis Tigers. He is one of two married players on the team — the only Mormon — and he’s an accounting major.

“It’s a good thing,” the 24-year-old said in a phone interview from Memphis, Tenn. “The decision (to play football) has changed my life tremendously.”

Days before the Tigers traveled to East Carolina for an Oct. 13 matchup, Devey described about how he went from high school tuba player to an FBS college football player in the South. He also talked about how being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not only blessed his life, but helped him to be an example to his teammates.

“I do get the old man jokes a lot, being that I am the oldest on the team,” Devey said. “It’s a good time to be here.”

High school musician

As a student at American Fork High School, Devey played the tuba, the violin and the trombone. As a member of the band, he played and marched in Disneyland, Las Vegas, Indiana and even President George W. Bush’s second term inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.

But while he loved music, there were times marching at halftime when he longed to wear a different uniform.

Prior to high school, Devey not only excelled in basketball, baseball and football, he was so athletic and dominant that other parents demanded to see his birth certificate.

In the eighth grade, however, he began having problems with his knees and was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatters disease, an irritation that occurs when the quadriceps muscle pulls tightly against the kneecap, causing pain and swelling just below the knee. The injury appeared to end his athletic career, so as a freshman, he joined the band.

The comeback

Following high school, Devey served an LDS mission to Costa Rica. He worked hard, had a meaningful experience and returned home in January 2009. As an added blessing, the Osgood-Schlatters had subsided and his knees felt great.

“During my mission I did a lot of running and jump roping,” Devey said. “I grew out of the condition and my knees were fine.”

As he prepared for a career in music, he had a life-altering conversation with a former mission companion who played junior college football.

“He suggested I walk on somewhere,” Devey said. “I called up Snow College and they gave me a shot.”

When the Snow coaches learned Devey measured 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, they welcomed him to Ephraim, Utah, despite his lack of high school experience. The freshman had much to learn in a short time, but managed to impress the staff. As the season started, he was the backup left guard, but an injury opened a starting spot and Devey was inserted.

He moved to left tackle as a sophomore and was named offensive player of the year on a team that finished 10-2 with a No. 7 national ranking.

That was good enough to attract the attention of coaches at Utah State, Cincinnati and Memphis.

A Tiger

Devey’s decision to play at Memphis was relatively simple.

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