The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are all about building a winning culture. To do that, you have to have guys that bring the energy on the field and off the field.
For the Cajuns, one of those guys is sophomore wide receiver Devon Pauley.
“I’ve always loved to dance,” Pauley says. “My mom can dance a little bit. Growing up, we’d always have dance competitions at our house.”
Whether it’s dancing down the sideline to make a clutch catch, or dancing in the locker room to hype up his teammates, Pauley takes pride in bringing positive vibes to the program.
“It means a lot,” Pauley says. “I like doing that. I like being able to hype up. I like bringing positive, good energy.”
That positive energy is crucial for a program that has overcome so much adversity this offseason, dealing with COVID-19, social justice issues, the death of assistant coach D.J. Looney, and Hurricane Laura.
The destruction of Hurricane Laura hit home for the Lake Charles native.
“My mom actually just had to move to Crowley because of damage to her house,” Pauley says. “So she’s going to be living in Crowley for a little while. My little sister just had to transfer to Notre Dame because I don’t know if Barbe is going to open up again this year. My dad is still jobless right now because of the hurricane. That basically took his job.”
Pauley was one of the many student-athletes that went to Lake Charles to deliver supplies to hurricane victims in need.
“It’s heartbreaking to go back to your hometown and not even recognize your hometown,” Pauley says. “But it meant everything to me that Coach Nape (Napier) allowed us to do that.”
In times like this, football is more of an outlet than a destraction for Pauley.
“I can go out to practice and clear my mind,” Pauley says. “There’s nothing like a Saturday night, there’s nothing like a Friday night. You can’t exchange that for anything. It’s definitely been an outlet for me.”
On Saturdays, Pauley wears the initials “H.P.” under his eyes in memory of his sister Hannah, who died by suicide when he was only 12 years old.
He carries on her legacy, in every practice and every game.
“I go out every day in practice, I go practice hard for her,” Pauley says. “Every game I play is for her. Every snap is for her. It’s bigger than football.”