“Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.”
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those words over a century ago, but he could just as easily have been describing former Ole Miss and Grambling standout quarterback DeVante Kincade.
DeVante’s faith has kept him looking upward, a direction he is now heading as he travels to Portland after signing Monday to play for the Maine Mammoths of the National Arena League.
The Rebel Walk caught up with DeVante Tuesday evening while he was on a layover in Baltimore.
“I’m blessed. I’m happy,” were the first words he said, after we congratulated him on his new contract.
DeVante was projected by some to be a late-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft; however, the call did not come for the two-time SWAC Offensive Player of the Year.
In typical Kincade fashion, he didn’t let that get him down. Instead, he waited for a call from a team interested in signing him as an undrafted free agent. However, that did not work out, either, for the dual-threat quarterback.
While many would throw in the towel or wallow in negativity, that’s not DeVante’s modus operandi.
“I just prayed and stayed around positive people, and that made it easy for me.”
Kincade on his mindset after the draft
The long and winding road
The 2013 four-star recruit out of Skyline High School (Dallas, TX) signed to play for Ole Miss and was redshirted his first year. DeVante played for the Rebels in 2014 and 2015 before eventually transferring to Grambling State to be closer to his mother who was ill at the time.
During his time at Grambling, he showcased his skills, achieving more in his two years there than many accomplish in four. Upon his arrival in 2016, DeVante quickly became a starter, ultimately throwing for 3,022 yards and completing 63.9 percent of his passes.
In 2017, he led the Tigers to a conference-best 10-win season, throwing for 2,409 yards and 19 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He held the top passing efficiency in the conference last season with a rating of 143.8 and accounted for the most total yards of offense (2,649 yards).
Following his exceptional senior season, DeVante was projected by some as a potential late-round 2018 draftee, with a few suggesting he would be taken by Tampa Bay and used as a wildcat quarterback—or even moved to a new position.
The call never came, but DeVante’s faith in God and himself remained firm.
Blessed to continue playing
On Monday, the Maine Mammoths signed DeVante, and by Tuesday evening the quarterback was flying to join his new team.
“I’m blessed to be able to put on some football equipment again. I put so much into playing QB, it’s inexplicable how I feel right now.“
In the month since the NFL Draft, DeVante remained upbeat. He didn’t take to social media to complain, nor did he feel sorry for himself. He did what he always does—he continued looking up.
“How can you worry if you believe God is working?” he asked.
“I prayed to God to give me an opportunity to prove to the world I can play QB, and this is my opportunity. I’m extremely blessed.”
DeVante Kincade on playing for Maine
Playing for the Mammoths
The Mammoths, in their first season, are the National Arena League’s newest franchise. Their current record is 1-5, and there is no doubt DeVante will be a welcome addition to the team. It would surprise no one over the course of the remaining nine games on the Mammoths’ schedule if DeVante were to assume the role of starting quarterback.
“I just want to show everyone that I can lead and be the best quarterback I can be,” DeVante said.
“No one from the NFL or CFL gave me the chance to show that I can make the same plays I made in the SWAC. I’m thankful Coach (James) Fuller gave me an opportunity. He’s not going to regret it at all.“