Devin Borders is a 6’6, 217 lbs., record-breaking wide receiver. And coming out of high school, no one cared.
Borders flew completely under the radar at Choctawhatchee High School, despite finishing his senior season with 660 yards, nine touchdowns and all-area honors.
“The summer before my senior year, coaches and players kept telling me I would get offers,” Borders said. “And then my senior year…nothing.”
While his teammates sat in front of media members, announcing their college decisions on signing day, Borders sat in the back of the room—clapping for his friends and thinking about what his future might be.
Debating on attending community college in his hometown, a call from a stranger over the summer changed Borders’ life forever.
The man who called told Borders that he had seen his highlights and was determined to get him a scholarship at any school he can.
With only a few months before the start of football season, Borders got calls from WKU, Akron University and more.
Finally, less than a month before the season—and only after two phone calls with the offensive coordinator—Borders signed with EKU.
“Training camp started in July, and I literally did not sign until mid-July,” Borders said.
At EKU, Borders immediately became an integral part of the offense. As a Redshirt-Freshman, Borders received Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and OVC All-Newcomer Team nods.
The success did not stop his freshman year. Borders proved to be not only an offensive asset, but a special teams blessing.
In his first four seasons, Borders led the team in touchdown receptions and is currently on the OVC and FCS records list for career blocked field goals and career blocked kicks.
But not every year went without setbacks, though. Borders had continuous knee issues—with two knee surgeries in two years.
The original surgery on a torn MCL caused Borders issues throughout his past season, until having surgery immediately after.
The surgeries, Borders said, taught him how to overcome adversity at any level— and he still ended the season with a team leading 37 receptions.
While winning games and conference honors, Borders was also achieving his undergraduate degree in risk management and insurance.
“My parents harped on me about education when I was growing up,” Borders said. “So I knew I wanted to go to school and focus on my degree.”
Similar to football, Borders said he loves risk management because of the competitiveness.
Borders is now working on a graduate degree in sports management as he plays in what he hopes to be his best season yet.
In his game against Ball State, Borders officially made it onto the school’s history books as he jumped into EKU’s top 10 receiving yards.
While his personal success is exciting, Borders said he knows the team is always bigger than himself. The one thing he has his eyes on: an FCS Championship ring.
“We competed well with the bigger schools this season, and we got comfortable with team hiccups, but now it’s business,” Borders said.
With the talent of the team and the vision of the coaches, Borders said he believes EKU has a great chance at receiving rings at the end of the season.
Underrated his entire life, Borders is prepared to prove anyone wrong—whether they be critics or rivals.
Players at smaller FCS schools are almost never regarded as top talents, but the success of EKU grads—and OVC alums such as Jimmy Garappolo—has given Borders more encouragement.
“I’ve played against DeVante Parker, Teddy Bridgewater and Jimmy [Garappolo],” Borders said. “So, I know I can compete at that level.”
Whether he gets his chance to show his talents has yet to be decided, but Borders said he is confident in his abilities.
He said after his senior season, Borders will train in Richmond and Louisville while hopefully working with an agent to decide his fate.
And even if zero scouts notice the superstar, Borders will be okay—he’s used to being the underdog.