PERRY TOWNSHIP — Perry’s Devares Glenn stature is small but his heart and desire are big.
And despite his size, Glenn has developed into one of the standout defensive players in northwest Ohio and the reason he was selected the Lima News Defensive Player of the Year.
For the second straight season, the Commodore cornerback was tabbed the Northwest Central Conference Defensive Player of the Year and for the second straight year was a first-team All-Northwest District selection.
Even though he listed at 5-foot 7-inches he hovers more around 5-foot 4-inches, and the diminutive dynamo was perhaps the most feared defensive back in the league. This past season, he recorded 41 tackles and three interceptions. He recorded nine pass deflections.
Sure, teams underestimated him because of his height early on but that quickly changed throughout his four-year career at Perry.
“Growing up a lot of people doubted me because of my height, and I just worked harder and played harder than the next person in front of me and harder than the next person beside me because I know I don’t have the height or sometimes the strength but I know if I work harder than the next person it drives me to do better,” Glenn said. “They underestimated me for sure. I had to prove them wrong. I’m 5-foot 4 but I play like I’m 6-foot 6.”
Perry head coach Dan Baker heard from other coaches in the conference that teams schemed for him and tried to avoid to passing to his side. For the season he allowed three completions for 22 yards.
“No. 1, I don’t if you are going to find a guy who is going to make a tackle if you do get the ball,” Baker said “For him to have the tackle numbers that he has without giving up receptions just means he has a real good nose for the ball defensively. I think realistically he has more interceptions for touchdowns than receptions given up or close to that in his career. The kid is just everywhere.”
This season Glenn had two pick sixes.
“I knew everybody threw at him last year and it didn’t go well for them and this year they weren’t going to throw at him this year and when they did there was not a whole lot of catches being made,” Baker said. “He took on every talented receiver in the league and he shut them down.”
Baker said that teams schemed around him all season long and in talking to opposing coaches he said they often told their quarterback not to throw to that side. In one instance against Crestline this season, the quarterback made that mistake and Glenn came away with an interception.
“I know teams schemed around him but we played with it a couple of times and sometimes we would put him on their best receiver and tell them ‘find somebody else,’” Baker said. “He was the type of kid that wherever that kid was you weren’t throwing the ball there. If you were it was that real short distance.”
Baker added that often times he played hurt and in one game played with a torn meniscus and did not tell anybody. When the Commodore coach asked him why he didn’t tell anybody, he responded, “I didn’t want to let the team down.”
“He has got the heart,” Baker said. “He doesn’t have the size but he has the heart. You can’t replace heart, you just hope that everyone is drawn to that and kind of feeds off it. He has been a lynch pin defensively for us the last few years.”
Baker said he was impressed by Glenn in his freshman season. As an assistant coach for Perry, Baker was riding back on the bus with the junior varsity team after a blowout loss to Allen East and watched as Glenn got angry at his fellow teammates for horsing around and not taking the loss serious.
“I remember after that game because he was on the JV bus because he was a freshman, and he played a little bit, not a whole lot, but started tearing into the JV kids for screwing around on the bus ride back. They were throwing pizza or something and he just grabbed them and said you are going to stop. At that point I said I don’t know who this kid is but I like him.”
Baker took Glenn under his wing and the two developed a lasting bond. Baker often gave Glenn and two other players rides to school and helped him when he needed to do laundry as well as feeding him.
“He and I have gotten along since his freshman year with me driving him everywhere,” Baker said.
Baker saw immediate potential in Glenn when he wanted to make him a cornerback, and he accepted the challenge even though he had never played the position.
Glenn is motivated by his desire to be the best in whatever he does.
Baker describes him as irreplaceable on and off the field.
“You can’t replace his leadership much less his talent,” Baker said. “You can put him anywhere on the field and he can be successful. He just has such a strong work ethic and desire. He has been a captain for four years and you don’t replace that.”
Described as a leader by example by Baker and the hardest working player he has coached, Glenn agreed about setting the standard but pointed out that he became more vocal as he developed as a junior and senior.
“I was more of a leader by example first but when it came into my hands I know I had to step up for my team,” Glenn said. “With me being a leader and seeing what I’m doing or I get in their face it is like your mom telling you to do something. It is like me being a big brother to those guys.
“It’s also me doing the small things and trust. It is not just football it is life, period and if they need help with something I am there so that is how I can gain their trust and their respect.”
Baker adds that Glenn and one other senior on the squad are the only two players to record four consecutive winning seasons. The Commodores, who are 27-14 in those four years, have made the playoffs in two of those years and garnered back-to-back NWCC titles.
“I think it goes with his attitude and mentality of going to work,” Baker said. “He was a kid as a freshman, and the first to tell you, was a freshman. He kind of got lost in the moment and it was too big for him sometimes but he got a lot of experience and on that first playoff team and he grew up a whole lot real fast.”
Glenn admitted that he didn’t think he was going to be a starter his freshman year and added that Baker believed in him.
“He was like ‘I want you to play corner for me and I had never played corner in my life,” Glenn said. “I was always a running back because of my speed and after that I just fell in love with corner and when we kept winning and winning I was like I could get used to this.”
Baker added that Glenn felt he underachieved his sophomore year when the team went 6-4 but bounced back the last two years to help the Commodores go 15-5.
“He was one of those kids that said hey we are going to fix that,” Baker said. “We are not going to underachieve at Perry and poured his heart and soul into it and I can’t be more thankful than have the opportunity to coach someone like that. The program kind of embodies him.”
Now Glenn is eyeing the future and wants to play college ball to not only continue his football career but to gain an education to help his family. This is his primary motivation.
“What drives me is success and winning but what drives me more than anything is my family,” Glenn said. “I grew up not having a lot so I want to put my family in a better situation than what we are in now. I want to go further in life and not just football.”
Like on the field, Glenn has worked to raise grades after a shaky freshman year and wants to become a coach to honor Baker.
“My freshman year I didn’t take it seriously but when I realized I had a talent and could possibly play college ball I started to take it so much seriously and I strive for every grade and every extra credit. I have been striving so hard for it. At first I just wanted to play football and my world was football but I realized my education can get me way further than football.
“My ultimate goal is to coach so I can change lives like coach Baker changed my life. I know I can take a bad team and turn it into a good team like coach Baker did. Baker is my inspiration. He is basically like my big brother.”