Devin Lucien plays football because he “genuinely loves the game”

3-4 devin lucien

BY: ED COLE

TEMPE, Ariz. – Devin Lucien spent the first three years of his collegiate football career at UCLA, before transferring to Arizona State last season and wrapping it all up there.

What a season it was for Lucien. He played in all 13 games, with 10 starts, and led the team with 1,075 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Lucien got stronger as the season went on. In his final three games, Lucien caught 21 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns.

With such a great finish to his collegiate career, Lucien is hoping to carry that momentum to the NFL this season.

First things first: Lucien had a chance to wow quite a few NFL scouts – the Arizona Cardinals scouts included – at ASU Pro Day on Friday, and he felt confident in what he put on display afterwards.

“I think I had a good day,” Lucien said. “Talking to the scouts, talking to my agent, looking at my phone, (and) seeing what other people had to say, I think I had a great day. (I) was able to crack a 4.4 (40-yard dash), which was, honestly, the only thing I worked for. During this process, I didn’t really run routes at all. I didn’t want to mess up my legs, or have it mess with my stride.

When I ran routes, it felt natural. It was back to football, so I think I had a great day.”

In the 40-yard dash, Lucien says he ran a 4.48 and 4.49 (official). His vertical was 34.5, and he benched 225 pounds 13 times.

“I think I had a good day,” Lucien said. “It’s a shame I wasn’t able to do that at the (NFL Scouting) Combine, but everything happens for a reason.”

Lucien started preparing for the Pro Day on Wednesday, along with quarterback Mike Bercovici, running back/wide receiver D.J. Foster, wide receiver Gary Chambers, and a few others. It was a relaxing day of preparation, which led up to Thursday’s day of work.

“(Mike) Berc(ovici) had us all come out here. We didn’t really run at all, we just walked through some stuff, and it ended up working out for us,” Lucien said. “Berco’s a great leader. He did great at quarterback today, and my hat goes off to him, and everyone else who participated.”

“Yesterday, I think, was very, very important for us,” Lucien said. “I think that, going out Thursday, and really walking through, really helped us out today in doing it full speed, and with that adrenaline pumping from all you guys being out here, it just made us be on our toes even more.”

“It’s kind of a mix of everything,” Lucien said. “Our adrenaline’s pumping, we know we have to be perfect, and we were able to walk through with Berc(ovici) yesterday, so that all kind of played into it.”

It was an incredible atmosphere on Friday. From the time Lucien and the rest of his Sun Devil teammates arrived in the weight room to take measurements, do their vertical leap, their bench press and broad jump, with what seemed like 100 NFL scouts crowded around them, you knew something big was happening on campus.

Once things moved inside Arizona State’s practice bubble, it got even more condensed with the scouts crowding around on the field to watch the athletes do more drills. It just seemed like Lucien and his teammates had little to no room to move around during the 3-cone drill; the scouts were that close to them and were watching every move they made.

“Well, me personally, I tried to think about it as a game,” Lucien said of the experience. “Instead of a whole bunch of fans being out there, either cheering you on, or dog cussing your name, you got a scout who’s just going to stay quiet, and write everything about you down, so, with me, I tried to think about it as a game setting, and you’re just in ASU’s stadium (Sun Devil Stadium), or at the Rose Bowl. That’s how I was thinking about it.”

Lucien wasn’t able to spend his entire career with Arizona State head coach Todd Graham. He was only able to get a snack sized bit of time with him, but in all those practices, and meetings, and games he was a part of last season, Lucien was still able to feel the full effect that Graham has on his student-athletes.

“Coach (Todd) Graham, he’s so military based,” Lucien said. “They did the same thing at UCLA, but it was more Navy SEAL based. Here, it’s straight Army, “Yes sir, no sir.” I feel like Coach Graham is more, “At ease, say yes sir, no sir,” but that’s really helped me. I say, “Yes sir, no sir,” to everybody, and I feel like they look at me a little differently now.”

“It’s just little stuff like that that he really brought to me,” Lucien said. “Just always being respectful, always look at someone in their eyes when you talk to them, and always be bright-eyed. I learned a lot from Coach Graham.”

Now that Pro Day is over, Lucien will train and rest at the same time. With the 2016 NFL Draft well over a month away, there’s plenty of time for Lucien to continue to grind away and make himself the ideal wide receiver for any one of 32 NFL teams who are looking for someone like him.

“With me, you’re gonna get a guy who loves this game,” Lucien said. “I don’t play for money. I tell people that all the time. It doesn’t matter if I go (in the) first round, or undrafted, you’re going to get someone who wants to play and beat (Jets cornerback) Darrelle Revis, or (Panthers cornerback) Josh Norman every time I go against them. I can’t wait to go against Josh Norman. That’s the kind of competitor I am. You’re going to get an all-around great (wide) receiver who just wants to play this game because he genuinely loves the game, that’s it.”