HERO Sports All-America tight end Devin Summiel is an imposing figure. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 208 pounds, the BR-51 Fitchburg star from Tewksbury, Massachusetts is coming off his best season so far — a sophomore campaign that saw him pull down 60 receptions for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns just a year after posting one catch as a freshman.
As impressive as they are, Summiel could care less about his personal stats. For him it’s all about the team. In fact, Summiel admits his big break only came about because key members of the team fell to injury last season, providing him an opportunity he merely took advantage of.
“The coaches looked to me to step it up after those injuries,” he recalled. “I think it went through my head that I needed to work hard in order to better help my team.”
Summiel’s work ethic was a huge reason why Fitchburg head coach Patrick Haverty opted to give the young tight end a chance.
“When you meet him his personality is infectious,” Haverty said. “He always has smile and he can’t wait to get on the football field. The whistle blows and for two hours he’s working nonstop. I can’t remember a practice where I’ve seen him kneeling on the sideline nursing a bump or bruise. You have to tell him to get off the field … that’s a great attribute for any kid to have.”
Summiel attributes his personal work ethic, as well as his love of football, to his dad, David Summiel, who played tight end for Delaware State.
“My dad got me into football at age 13,” he recalled. “He was really big into football when he was younger. Ever since then I’ve had a love for the game and wanted to follow in his footsteps.”
David taught his son the basic fundamentals of the sport, i.e., how to catch the ball and be physical, while passing on specific qualities needed to play the tight end position.
Needless to say, Summiel was hooked, ultimately choosing football over all other sports due to the physical nature of the game.
“Throughout peewee and high school I was always tight end and sometimes a defensive end,” he explained. “I was always catching the ball. I always just tried to play my own game.”
For Summiel, it really is that simple. In fact, when speaking about his stellar season, he provides a basic, by-the-numbers evaluation, as though eager to move away from the spotlight.
“I honestly just wanted to go out there and play my game,” he said. “I tried to help the team out the best way that I could.”
As for this year, both Summiel and his coach aren’t worried about topping last season. They even expect other teams to devise game plans around taking Summiel out of the offense.
“When you have one catch your freshman year, no one really keys in on you,” Haverty explained. “But now teams will try to take him out of the equation. Its going to be harder for him to get open.”
That being said, Haverty still expects Summiel to produce like a top player in whatever capacity presents itself.
“His role could change,” he continued. “I hope he’ll have a great year, but that doesn’t always attribute to catches. His presence might make it easier for someone else to get catches, or help open up our run game. The best thing about Devin is that he’ll realize he’s apart of that process.”
Summiel reiterated his coach’s feelings, but then laid out his personal goals for this season — hint: they had nothing to do with stats. Instead, Devin Summiel kept it simple: “To work hard every single day. We gotta take everything day by day in small steps to come together to succeed.”