Aliquippa’s MJ Devonshire: ‘Who would have thought you’d be going to Kentucky?’
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | 9:33 AM
With his letter of intent on the table in front of him, Aliquippa’s MJ Devonshire unzipped his jacket and showed a blue shirt underneath.
What color blue? Kentucky blue.
The highly recruited cornerback, who helped the Quips win WPIAL and PIAA titles in the fall, took his college recruitment all the way to signing day.
During a Wednesday morning ceremony at his high school, Devonshire announced his commitment to the Wildcats over Pitt, West Virginia and others.
“It’s just where I felt most comfortable,” said Devonshire, who visited Lexington with his family two weekends ago and left campus with a new favorite school.
“We came back that Sunday, I talked to my parents on Monday, coach (Mark) Stoops came to my house on Tuesday and from there I was sold,” Devonshire said. “I was ready to go.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior met with Pitt coaches last Thursday to “see what they had to say,” but they couldn’t sway his decision.
Rivals ranks Devonshire as a four-star recruit. He scored 24 touchdowns this past season as Aliquippa won WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles. His eight punt return touchdowns were one short of tying a national single-season record.
Pitt and West Virginia were considered frontrunners for landing Devonshire until recent weeks, when Kentucky upped its efforts.
“The crazy thing is, I asked myself the same question: ‘Who would have thought you’d be going to Kentucky?’” Devonshire said. “If you would have said this to me in January, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.”
Devonshire joins an SEC program that went 10-3 last season under Stoops. The Wildcats capped their season with a 27-24 victory over Penn State on New Years Day.
“Playing for Coach Stoops is exciting because they’re turning the program around,” Devonshire said. “Last year, they had their 10-win season, beating Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. Making a bowl game like that is a big thing. Playing in those bowl games is the next step to playing in the national championship.”
Devonshire’s next step could be to follow Kentucky basketball star Tyler Herro on Twitter, he said, and hope for a follow back. Devonshire ran into the freshman at a party during his recruiting trip and found himself in awe.
“I don’t know if he noticed, but I was staring at him,” Devonshire said with a laugh. “He’s 6-6 standing in the middle of this party, and I see how people are treating him. Wow, I used to watch this guy on YouTube … and I’m actually in a room with Tyler Herro. It became real that I was a (Kentucky) recruit.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.