FLORENCE, S.C. – Decobie Durant answered the phone from Las Vegas to talk about being named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year.
But there was a pause. Then, he returned.
“Sorry, room service, he said.
In the city where celebratory toasts are king, Durant is the toast of the MEAC’s defense.
Durant, who starred at Lamar High School, and is currently starring for South Carolina State as a defensive back, has recorded 37 tackles this season, and made three interceptions (two against Clemson). He also has made 11 pass break-ups and two quarterback hurries. Already with a bachelor’s degree in physical activity management and pursuing his masters in rehabilitation counseling, Durant has one game left: Atlanta’s Dec. 18 Celebration Bowl against Jackson State – which is coached by one of the game’s greatest defensive backs: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders.
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On Tuesday, Durant was awarded his conference’s defensive player of the year honor at Las Vegas’ Aria Resort & Casino.
“It’s a blessing to be named player of the year in the conference, following players like (ex-Lake View star and current NFL star) Darius Leonard,” Durant said. “He and others paved the way for us at South Carolina State.”
It’s certainly a time of reflection for Durant.
“Time flashes right before my eyes,” he said. “It seems like I was a freshman here just the other day.”
Durant, who quarterbacked Lamar to a state championship in 2015, was also instrumental in South Carolina State’s run to this year’s MEAC title.
While many people still want to talk to Durant about him making two interceptions against Clemson, he does have one regret about his career.
“I wish I had achieved the South Carolina State career interception record. I have 13 so far in my career here, and I think the record here is 19,” Durant said. “I really was trying to break that.”
In January, Durant said he will start looking for an agent and then train for the NFL draft.
But first, in the Celebration Bowl, he wants to put on a good show in front of Sanders.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” Durant said. “It’s going to be great to play against a team coached by Deion Sanders (Sanders’ son, Shedeur Sanders, is Jackson State’s quarterback). “We’re going to bring our fans out, and it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to be able to show my skills in front of the fans and coach Sanders. That would be a blessing on television.
“Hopefully, I can get a photo with him after the game.”