Is Devin Brumfield one of the state’s next great running backs?
Only time will tell, but thus far, the script is off to a good start.
A freshman at Covington, the 5-10, 195-pound Brumfield is one of the better running backs in District 6-5A and has helped the Lions to a 2-1 start in district play. On the year, Brumfield has 766 yards on 114 carries for a team-high eight touchdowns.
Second-year Covington coach Greg Salter said he isn’t surprised with how good Brumfield is despite his young age.
“We have gotten the chance to watch him grow up and play on the playgrounds and at the junior high level,” Salter said. “There was no question he was the best player at that level. Physically, we knew how good he was. The biggest thing for us was we had to remember he is just now 15-years-old and will be going up against 17-18 year olds.
“He put that worry to risk quick this past spring. He showed he could mix it up with the guys, and by the time we had the jamboree he was running with the second-team offense. He doesn’t lack for confidence and that is very important.”
The soft-spoken Brumfield said his biggest goal is to help his team win games however he can.
“Coming from junior high last year, I wasn’t expecting to be a starter my freshman year,” he said. “It has been a big change. I’m just trying to help us win games, and if that means, I’m carrying the ball than I am going to work hard to be the best at it I possibly can.
“Of course none of that would be possible without the big guys up front on the offensive line. They make my job easy.”
Teaming up with senior Joshua Bickham in the backfield, Salter said the ability to share responsibilities between the two running backs has allowed him to not put too much on Brumfield’s plate too early.
“I was leery early on about giving him (Brumfield) too much,” Salter said. “You just don’t know about the mental state of freshman.
“Having Josh allowed us to not have to thrust Devin in there right away, despite how good he is. We were able to protect him and gradually get his feet wet. So we took our time. He started out on special teams, and then we increased the workload each week. It allowed him to gain confidence and now you are seeing how confident of a back he is out on the field.”
A mentor-protégé’ relationship, Brumfield said Bickham has helped with the transition to high school football.
“Everything I have done on the football field here I have learned from him,” Brumfield said of Bickham. “He has taught me how to cut and just focus on the game. Everything I have learned I have learned from Josh. I look up to him as a role model. I cannot thank him enough.”
Brumfield’s physicality has also helped speed up the transition to the varsity level.
“When you see Devin on the field you don’t think he is a freshman,” Salter said. “That makes a big difference.”
One thing Brumfield’s coach is not worried about is the notoriety and publicity his freshman tailback is receiving.
“He is a humble down-to-earth kid,” Salter said. “We have heard the Leonard Fournette comparisons already. We got to see Fournette in person last year. He was as classy off the field as he was on the field. That is what I tell Devin. Whenever people try to mention him in the same breath as Leonard, the one thing I remind them is Fournette was who he was because of how he handled himself off the field.
“If Devin continues to do what he is doing with his work ethic and attitude, the sky is the limit.”