Sitting down with Niesha Green, mother of Louisville football freshman Dezmond Tell.
Hailing from Hampton, Georgia, the 6’2” 268-pounder already had ties to Louisville before his commitment to the school.
“His grandmother’s family lives in Louisville and his grandmother graduated from Louisville,” Green said.
The standout didn’t exactly explode onto the scene right away.
“Dezmond’s recruiting process was gradual with his first offer in March 2019 – then it was full speed with more then 25+ offers,” Green said.
That’s quite a take-off, but it wasn’t by some magic. He had to put in the work.
“After his sophomore year of high school, he has always worked hard as an athlete; however, after his sophomore year he realized the more you put in the more you get out and he put his drive in 5th gear,” Green said.
It’s safe to say that Tell was totally locked in.
”(Dezmond was) attending camps, working out regularly, talking to his coaches more, and just being focused all around,” Niesha said.
Toward the end of his high school career, there was one coach who paid especially close attention to what the youngster was leaving on the field.
“Basically, Dezmond was hand-picked by (Louisville ine) Coach (Mark) Ivey at his high school, and that kind of attention from Coach Ivey made (Dezmond) want to play for him even more,” she said.
Tell’s first impression of the school and program was satisfactory because of his spontaneous bond and chemistry with Ivey.
“Dezmond immediately gravitated to Coach Ivey and they clicked on how he would fit the puzzle,” Green said.
The recruiting process can be bittersweet, and Tell’s family felt the pros and cons altogether, right up until the end. Tell was deciding between several other schools.
“It was a blessing, but then got a little stressful deciding which one was the best fit after visiting several schools, even during his spring break,” Green said. “Then when he was about to make his pick, Louisville came knocking at the door.”
Much to the delight of his family, Tell chose to don the Louisville red and black.
“He texted me after work with just a picture of a cardinal bird. The entire family was ecstatic,” Green said. “We have so much family there, we knew it would be good for him. He felt good about his decision and made his commitment final after visiting the campus. It was beautiful.”
Louisville football: The player and coach bond
Sometimes, a simple connection on the recruiting trail can make all the difference.
“After the official visit to Louisville, he realized he chose the school to commit to based on Coach Ivey’s constant communication and thoroughness of what he expected of (Dezmond) until summer camp,” Green said.
The difference between a run-of-the-mill recruiter and a good recruiter is how they continue the relationship with a player, even after they land them.
“Coach Ivey went above and beyond and went to visit Dezmond multiple times at his high school after his commitment to watch him and just get to know him even more,” Green said.
The more answers I received from Niesha, the more I understood the family values that this coaching staff truly possesses.
“Coach Ivey and Coach Brown would constantly send post cards, fliers, posters, and just thoughtful words of encouragement in the mail,” Green said. “Coach Ivey always stayed in heavy communication with (Dezmond) via phone, making Dezmond become more impressed with him and the program even more.”
With Coach Scott Satterfield voicing his vow to give some of the younger players a shot for more playing time, the only variable this season for Tell is father time. Ivey could be the key factor in getting him on the field quicker than expected.
“You can tell that Coach Ivey really believes in Dezmond and his talent to add to the program,” Green said.
I think we can all feel the pendulum swinging Tell’s way. When he finally gets his shot – other than his family members, perhaps no one will be prouder than Coach Ivey himself.