TEMPE, Ariz. — Among the 12 players participating in Arizona State’s pro day Friday, there was no shortage of motivation. Most, if not all, of them hope to play professional football soon.
Cornerback Deveron Carr, though, wasn’t there for himself.
“My family and my daughter are most definitely the motivation that I have today,” Carr said. “I don’t step onto this field every day and sacrifice my body for me. I sacrifice my body for my family.”
Carr put his body and athleticism on display Friday with an impressive showing in front of NFL scouts from roughly 20 teams and hopes he can do enough to hear his name called at the NFL Draft in April.
It might be a long shot that Carr gets picked in the seven rounds of the draft, but there’s little doubt he’ll get a chance with an NFL team one way or another. He admitted Friday he was disappointed not to get an invite to last month’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
“But when I didn’t get that invite, it was motivation,” Carr said. “I was kind of down for a little bit, but then it was like, ‘Hey, that opportunity wasn’t for me. My opportunity is pro day.'”
To prepare for that opportunity, Carr had to be apart from the family he loves so much. Carr relocated temporarily to Kissimmee, Fla., where he prepared for pro day at the Tom Shaw Performance Enhancement facility.
A Phoenix native, Carr hadn’t spent much extended time outside Arizona. When he first got to Florida, he didn’t talk to his family, 4-year-old daughter included, for a week and a half as he tried to adjust to the new, albeit brief, reality.
“I had to get in my mind that I wasn’t going home for two months,” Carr said. “My mom would call and leave messages on my phone yelling at me, but as I got used to being in Florida and I knew I wasn’t going home for two months, then I started making phone calls, (video chatting with) my daughter and talking to my family every day.”
Carr’s daughter, Izzabel, was born when he was 18 years old. Her arrival made him grow up quickly. Suddenly he had to balance football and fatherhood, something he still does today. She also gave Carr extra motivation to make a career of football. Certainly he wanted to do it for himself, but now it was about his family and providing for it.
So with that in mind, Carr focused during his time in Florida. He added about eight pounds of muscle, weighing in Friday at 188 pounds. He focused less on speed than he did on drills, knowing he probably wasn’t going to increase his speed but could impress teams with the little things.
Still, Carr’s unofficial times were good. Scouts told Carr he was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.39 seconds on his first attempt and 4.40 on his second attempt. Those times would have tied him for fourth and sixth, respectively, among cornerbacks who did participate at the Combine.
“I got a little stronger and a little faster while I was down there,” Carr said. “So what I was down there to accomplish, I most definitely accomplished.”
Next, Carr could get invites to work out individually with NFL teams. Carr mentioned that a Jets scout came over to compliment him Friday after pro day wrapped up.
Carr says the two months away from his family prepared him for the possibility of being away from them as he plays professionally. He knows its more likely he’ll end up spending more time away if he can stick with a team.
“Being away for two months having a daughter and being a family man, it was rough, but at the same time, this is the ballgame I play,” Carr said. “I might leave and I might get to stay here, but my chances of staying here are slim to none.”
As much as his pro day training prepared Carr for his chance at the NFL, he gives at least as much credit to ASU coach Todd Graham. Carr, like the rest of players returning last season, faced the task of adapting to Graham’s coaching style and plan for the program.
“He challenged me as a man every day,” Carr said. “In the classroom, on and off the field. I was just in an uncomfortable situation every day, and it made me stronger as man because I was able to come out of that situation successful.”
“My junior season? Mediocre, wasn’t so great. My senior season? He gave me an opportunity to play pro.”