BEREA, Ohio -- Life in the National Football League is all about responding to changes, and former Princeton University wide receiver Seth DeValve is preparing to undergo a major position change at the professional level.
Despite spending his entire collegiate career at wide receiver, DeValve is anxious to transition to tight end after being selected with a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“I always played primarily wide receiver at Princeton from 2011 when I started all the way through 2015 this year,” DeValve said in a conference call with the Cleveland media. “The type of offense we run there is a spread offense with an H-back adjuster who really can play out wide in the slot with him and down at tight end or even in the backfield.
“That guy as the year went along became me because I was a bigger wide out who could put my hand in the ground and play tight end. I was always kind of in that role. I was doing tight end in various amounts depending on the year. I was always used as a hybrid tight end/wide receiver so to say.”
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound DeValve lost the better part of four games during the 2015 season because of injuries, but managed to pull in 33 passes for 337 yards and one touchdown, including a career-long of 40 yards, and averaged 56.2 yards per game.
DeValve’s most productive season came in 2013, when he turned 49 catches into 527 yards and four touchdowns, all of which were career highs.
In his career, DeValve caught 122 passes for 1,336 yards and seven touchdowns, and averaged 44.5 yards per game. In Princeton history, DeValve finished 10th in receptions and 13th in receiving yards. He ended his career with a nine-catch, 110-yard performance against Dartmouth.
And he accomplished all of that despite battling multiple injuries.
“My junior year was actually my first senior year,” DeValve said. “That was my fourth year at Princeton. Then, following the injuries that caused me to only play two games, I took a medical redshirt. My senior year this past season was my fifth year. The reason for the missed time those two seasons were due to two foot operations I had to get, which in actuality, were non-football related. They were correction surgeries on my feet of issues that I have had since I was born.
“It was kind of my job and my agent’s job through this whole process to (clarify that) with teams since a lot of teams thought I was injury prone because of my feet. The reality was and is that those surgeries were going to happen and had to happen, whether or not I was a football player. They were setbacks, yes, and I would have liked to play more games in my final two seasons, but the reality was that I had to make good on the time I was given when I was healthy, and it turns out that it was enough.”
DeValve was so impressive during his collegiate career at Princeton that the Browns’ front-office brain trust of Harvard-educated people have confidence he can be an impactful player in the NFL.
“I can guarantee you one thing: Anybody who goes to Princeton does not like Harvard and anybody who goes to Harvard does not like Princeton,” DeValve said. “It has nothing to do with the guys. It has everything to do the name of the school.
“I can’t speak for any particular guys, but I will say whenever we step on the field with Harvard, whenever our basketball team steps on the court with Harvard and the football team is there supporting, we want to win every, single time. That’s just the way the Ivy League is wired.”