Jun. 28—Five years ago, Devan Burrell wouldn't have imagined he would be playing professional football in Germany.
As a freshman at Cypress College in California, the Las Vegas native had his eyes set on a college basketball career. After three years on the college hardwood, the opportunity to play football for the first time came in 2017 at Cerritos College.
Now, he's fresh into a career with the Allgäu Comets in Allgäu, Germany.
All this has happened in the span of five years, so I didn't think I would be in Germany playing football," he said with a laugh. "I'm actually like really proud of myself, just graduating college and sticking to the script."
One year of junior college football was ultimately enough to earn a scholarship to Missouri Western. He finished his senior season with 44 tackles, one interception, one fumble and three pass breakups. He was among the team's leaders in tackles with 57 as a junior and 61 as a sophomore. His top game saw him make 19 tackles after Missouri Southern.
Burrell looks back on his time as a Griffon more for what he learned off the field.
"They really helped me a lot with my schooling and everything, with the tutoring, helped me tremendously just grow up," Burrell said. "It's about life and who you meet and and just being a man leaving Missouri Western."
In his first two games in the German Football League, Burrell has tallied 22 tackles, one pass breakup and a blocked kick with a third game set to take place July 2 against the Munich Cowboys.
As one of five Americans on the team, he often finds people in the organization leaning on him for advice and to refine their technique as the roster is made up of players from all across Europe.
"They're very in tune with learning. They want to know why we play football the way we do in the states," Burrell said. "Everybody here really wants to play football but they just don't grow up playing football."
Even after playing the game for a few short years, there was little doubt he was willing to travel across the globe to do so.
"I love football, just staying with the game, never quitting," Burrell said.
Burrell was originally aiming for a chance in North America in the NFL, CFL or XFL but didn't perform at his Pro Days like he hoped. Now that he's found a landing spot, he hopes to showcase his skills and leverage it into another opportunity.
"I hope the next chapter is playing in the NFL, the XFL, anything higher," Burrell said. "I know I can play at that level and the game just gets easier. I've been playing football for five years."
Brandon Zenner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.