Clamping Coverage - Q&A with Wyoming Mustangs DB Devante Cyprian
We sat down with the CIF product to discuss life both on and off the field!
Devante Cyprian of the Champions Indoor Football League’s Wyoming Mustangs was kind enough to give us a few minutes and answer some questions. Growing up in Seattle, Washington, we touched on his high school days, who he watched in the NFL growing up, college life, and much more. Here’s our Q&A with the Mustangs Defensive Back as he prepares for the upcoming 2022 CIF season!
SFF: Walk us through your high school days, playing football, attending classes, etc…
DC: “For me it was a little different. I woke up at 5 [AM] to walk my baby sister to daycare every day, so my days started really early, after that it was regular school days like most other kids until school ended. Then practice came, I loved nothing more than getting to hang out with my guys for the last time. Senior year hits the hardest that it’s the last time your group from the past couple years will be together, so it’s always something I’ll tell parents to just let their kid try ya know? Builds relationships past high school. Shoot one of my CIF teammates was a high school teammate (LaGrant Pegram Jr).”
SFF: Growing up in Seattle, who did you idolize in the NFL?
DC: “Growing up in Seattle was cool man, I got to see the likes of Matt Hasselback, Leon Washington, Lofa Tatupu and still was old enough to see the legion of boom era as well. BUT it was always fun for me seeing that I’ve always been a Baltimore Ravens fan. Nothing is better to than Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.”
SFF: College of the Redwoods in California is where you attended school. Walk us through your best memories in school, both on and off the field
DC: “Going to school at the College of the Redwoods is one hell of an experience. Between the first chills of walking through our redwood Forrest as an entrance from home games to walking back in the dorms in mud covered jerseys because our field was grass. And it sounds funny but the struggle is the most memorable part because you weren’t the only one. There’s something about being hungry and struggling together that really pulls young guys into a good core. And just like high school I still have brothers I speak to regularly and Juco will forever be a tight knit brotherhood. Also PSA: BRING BACK REDWOODS.”
SFF: After college, you played for the Wenatchee Skyhawks travel team. What was that experience like?
DC: “Playing for Wenatchee’s travel team was a ginormous blessing. After being released by Yakima [Canines] in the preseason, Wenatchee took a shot on even if it was just a travel team, they don’t want their organization embarrassed. And it was a blast! I never imagined myself having so much field time as a rookie but the circumstances allowed me to play almost every single defensive down, so I gained a ton of on field experience to get used to the game.”
SFF: Arena football has a ton of exciting plays as well as a fast-paced style. How does that style compliment your skill set?
DC: “Arena sure is fast, my first few plays I was waiting for the standard 11 man tactic and get going with the run but nope! Straight from the gate attacking me and I love it. As you can imagine trying me didn’t last long after almost having 2 INT’s in only my second arena game ever. It compliments my style because the amount of room we have as a DB to not be penalized is a dream. WR’s are too talented today to have this hands off approach and now we have a wall to make them feel us.”
SFF: Pro Level Sports Agency represents you, and played a role in getting you a CIF contract with the Wyoming Mustangs. What has that partnership been like with your agency?
DC: “First and foremost shouts out to Buddy Walters. That man hit that ground in a full blown sprint when it came to working together and getting me somewhere. In example: I started with Pro Level on a Monday so to speak. Well by Wednesday afternoon I had a CIF contract in my email and I was completely shocked. I’m used to doing all the lifting myself and getting nowhere and still having to attend tryouts. Nope not Buddy. He believed in my talent more than I did honestly. I was sure my film and skill had me in a place where coaches wouldn’t glance at me, but Buddy polished up the things coaches wanted to see and I can’t thank him enough. So I guess it’s safe to say the partnership has been amazing and hopefully I can repay them with an actual check to them one day.”
SFF: What excites you the most about the upcoming season with the Mustangs?
DC: I’m most excited about the fan base to be honest. I’m from semi pro and AWFC where generally not a ton of fans will be there. Maybe a couple hundred but in Gillette [Wyoming] apparently we have a legitimate fan base and that’s cool man. Nothing better than a die hard city weather their team wins or loses so we owe it to them to have a winning season. The Best fan base deserves it.”
SFF: As a DB, do you prefer Man or Zone coverage?
DC: “As a DB I prefer zone. It allows me to do a little thing called cheating in the backfield. Basically I can watch the QB’s vision and keep his WR’s in my line of sight all while back peddling. Which allows me to make a play on a man in front of me or coming across my zone. In man I’m technically not supposed to look for [the] ball or [the] QB until in phase on the receivers hip and chasing, while leaving vacant spots on the field. And again these guys are too talented to give them a fair chance.. a little backfield cheating is always needed haha.”
SFF: Give us a few pointers or tips that coaches have shared with you and the impact they’ve had on your career thus far
DC: “Tips and tricks I’ve gotten from vets and coaches is to play 100% full speed. I know it sounds cliche and I never believed in it honestly, but as a new guy on a travel team what else was I supposed to do? Not a ton of film to study, no real playbook so I did sort of just have to fly around. If a mistake was made then hey, learn and keep flying. And my personal advice is to never give up hope. I wasn’t a star athlete in school but I was cool enough to go D1AA quietly and even then I didn’t think I was good enough, if I believed I could do it in high school my gpa would’ve been ready to go that route too. Same thing at Redwoods, all the way up until arena, I always doubted my talent but there’s those coaches that reminded I can play this game with the best of them.”
SFF: What can fans expect from you when you’re on the field this upcoming season?
DC: “Fans can expect lockdown moments with a ton of player interaction and fun being had. I’ve never been one to go into serious war mode. That makes mistakes magnified and intense when they could be simple. That’s always been me. Football is supposed to be fun so why be here and when you’re having fun you have a much better chance of winning in my opinion. If you see #9 come say hi. I love interacting with my people that show love.”
We want to thank Devante for answering these questions and giving us his time. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@dcyprian18) as he prepares for the upcoming 2022 season with the Wyoming Mustangs!