NAU winning with help of family connection
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Northern Arizona will host Portland State on Saturday as part of Family Weekend festivities, and on the field, the Lumberjacks will feature a family connection of their own: the DeBoskie brothers.
Ca'leve DeBoskie, a redshirt junior, joined the program in 2009 out of Chandler High School while older brother Covaughn DeBoskie played collegiately at California. After graduating last spring with one year of eligibility remaining, Covaughn saw an opportunity to reunite with his brother at NAU and play his final season. He transferred to NAU over the summer after playing in 23 games for the Bears over three seasons.
"It means a lot," said Covaughn, who totaled 321 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 62 carries at California. "There have only been certain times in our lives where we have played together: our first year in tackle football, my senior year of high school and my senior year in college."
Football started early for the DeBoskie brothers, a trio that includes the youngest male sibling Kaelin, a standout player at Heritage High School in Texas.
"I can remember playing flag together," said Covaughn. "We always played tackle football, especially with our little brother. We played in the street. Kaelin is better than both of us."
This year, the brothers are playing together -- and making an impact -- for NAU and coach Jerome Souers.
"I can't imagine any greater feeling than two brothers being able to be on the same team," said Souers. "Sharing the passion for the sport of football, the game that we all love, and be able to share it with your own flesh and blood is an opportunity that will create memories for a lifetime."
Ca'leve entered the season challenging for time at wide receiver before switching to defensive back. He also contributes on kickoff returns thanks to his speed. He has four kick returns for a 20.8 yard average, including two last week in the win over Montana.
"It is good," Ca'leve said of his play thus far. "I think corner is a better position for me because I have good corner size, hips and good recovery speed. I love to hit."
The younger DeBoskie also a good recruiter.
"We have known about Covaughn for a long time and always teasingly told Ca'leve to get his brother to come here," said Souers. "It didn't happen until late, but it did happen. We are excited to have them both. They are great kids that work hard and have great attitudes. They are great members of the NAU football family."
Covaughn is backing up junior running back Zach Bauman and has shown his ability in the first four games. He rushed for 82 yards in his debut against Arizona State and added 81 yards and two touchdown receptions against Fort Lewis. Last week, he had nine carries for 42 yards and a touchdown at Montana.
"Coming from a big program to another big program, it means a lot to even be on the field," said Covaughn. "A lot of people do not get that chance. I am thankful for every chance I get."
Covaughn motivated Ca'leve to earn the chance to play at the Division I level, and they support each other both on and off the field. Like any brothers, especially siblings close in age, they have their own battles. But they realize how fast this season will go by and aren't missing any opportunities, instead focusing every day on the Lumberjacks' success.
"We did not have a championship season (in high school)," said Covaughn. "So we are pushing for a championship season this year."
Saturday's game kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be televised live on FOX Sports Arizona Plus. Click here for the Plus channel finder.