DeValon Whitcomb has been a leader since his days in high school at Omaha North.
As a defensive tackle, he helped win North’s first state championship in football since 1963 and the team’s first state wrestling title since 1997. He was a two-time state champion on the gridiron where he served as a three-year letter winner, a two-year starter and a senior captain in 2014.
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He took his talents north to the University of South Dakota and was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. He has not wasted the opportunity, being named team captain for the past two seasons.
Thanks for exemplifying leadership on and off the field, Whitcomb has been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Allstate has pledged $1 million for players and the non-profits of their choice.
DeValon Whitcomb Q&A:
When you played for Omaha North high school, who was your favorite rival team to beat and go against in Omaha?
Definitely Central. But any Omaha team – Central, Benson, South, Northwest. We all had people we grew up with and played club football against. It was always fun to connect on the football field and see each other.
You are playing in your sixth collegiate season. What are the best old man jokes you’ve heard from teammates?
Some of the best I’ve heard are “I’ve been here since the school went from division two to division one.” I forgot my wallet one day and someone said, “I’m surprised your ID still works to get into the facility.” Almost everything I do, they’re like, “Wow, now that is a veteran move.” Almost everything I do, my teammates throw a jab in.
What would Meaty in his 6th year tell Meaty in his 1st year that he had NO WAY of knowing?
If I could go back in time, two things I would tell myself are, go harder. I went hard the whole time I was here, but looking back, I feel like as humans, we always look back and can give it a little more oomph.
Number two, take more pictures. I had the opportunity and have been blessed to be in many situations and do many things. I almost forget because we’ve done so many things. “Remember when we did this back in the day, volunteering for this, or in this internship?” It’s just really eye-opening how long I’ve been out here, to look at how quickly things I went. I accomplished a lot in a small amount of time.
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What is your favorite part of working with the community? What projects are you working on?
Actually being hands on, “boots on the ground.” When you see the impact that you or your organization has, that’s pretty eye-opening – just seeing how you can changes lives. ANd just seeing the smiles you can put on people’s faces. Something we think may not be a big deal, is a big deal to someone else.
One of the recent projects I worked on was creating a PowerPoint for entrepreneurs for a non-profit I work for in Omaha – the Simple Foundation. Other than that, just been very hands on in my school with the Cultural Wellness Coalition. So all the events that we do and what we volunteer for.
What does it mean to you to be named to the Allstate Good Works Team?
To be named is truly amazing for me. They always say hard work never goes unnoticed, and honestly I just like what I’m doing off the field. The work that we do in the community isn’t to get awards, it’s because we really like what we are doing. To get this award is means everything to me right now.
Who was your favorite NFL player growing up? Who in your opinion is the best offensive lineman of all-time?
Growing up I really didn’t have a favorite player. I just loved the game. The people I rooted the hardest for were people I saw play at the University of Nebraska. Ndamukong Suh was definitely one of my favorites.
Jason Kelce (Philadelphia Eagles center)is one of them. Joe Thomas (former Cleveland Browns left tackle) before he retired. There are so many to name. When I watch the game, I just key into my position of defensive line. But I also respect their opponents on the offensive line, making them better players day by day.
What is your favorite on the field play you have been a part of as a player at USD? Is there a moment against a rival where you sit back and say, “That moment defined ME to ME”?
I treat every opponent like they are a rival. Sometimes you get in a mode in games and everything is clicking for you. I’ve had moments like that in quite a few of my games. The most recent ones was the Illinois State game in the Spring. (Note: in that game he had seven tackles including a strip sack that led to a field goal and a fumble recovery that led to a touchdown in the Coyotes’ 27-20 upset of No. 7 Illinois State in the season opener on 2/27/21)
What are the 3 attributes that led to your teammates making you team captain for multiple years?
- Work ethic
- Ability to communicate
- Being active and wearing many hats but taking care of business at all times
What do you do that has that strong of an impact on your teammates?
I lead by example. I don’t feel like I can’t ever talk to people, or that they can talk to me. There’s a lot of people that talk the talk, but can they walk to walk? Honestly, it is leading by example.
Best place to eat in Omaha that no one knows about?
Depends on what you’re looking for. I’d say Soul Food. There’s a few places you can slide to. I’d say Time Out, Jackson’s Takeout, Lionel’s Cafe. And food trucks.
About the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team was established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate worked to present the award starting with the 2008 season.
The SEC leads all conferences with 80 selections to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team since it began in 1992. The SEC is followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference with 49 selections and the Big 12 Conference with 38 selections. Georgia is in first place with 21 honorees to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The Bulldogs are followed by Kentucky with 17 honorees. Super Bowl XLII, XLVI and XLI champion quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning were members of the 2002 and 1997 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams, respectively.