Devale

Actor, athlete. Born Devale Edward Ellis, to mother Karen, a project manager at the Department of environmental protection, and father Troy Ellis, a computer programmer for Chase bank. His middle class upbringing taught him that when all else fails hard work would help you succeed.

 

As a product of the most famous city in the world, New York and a Brooklyn native, Ellis learned to be a quick thinker and a mover, in order to set himself apart in one of the world’s largest cities. His wit, charm, and good grades not only kept him out of trouble but also earned him spot in the magnet program for the gifted and talented at Andries Hudde Junior High School.

 

At the age of 12, his athletic ability and his leadership qualities began to take center stage. Known for his speed and uncanny eye-hand coordination, Ellis excelled at any sport he participated. His speed was his gift but Ellis began to be known more for his large personality. His celebrations after his completion of a successful athletic event became his signature.

 

In 2000, Ellis was a 5’8, 120 lb sophomore guard at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. As captain and leading scorer on the JV basketball team, he had no idea what the sports gods had planned for him. Little did he know that jumping up to grab a defensive rebound and dribbling the ball coast to coast for a dunk would lead him to pro sports.

 

Two years later, after being recruited to play football by the new football coach, Ellis was a key component in taking a 2-year winless James Madison Football team to 6-2 and the most prolific wide receiver in James Madison history. 1 season, 24 receptions, 831 yards and 14 TD’s later, Ellis was one of the leading receivers in the PSAL, but his lack of size and playing experience left too many questions for college recruiters.

 

Determined to show his worth, Ellis turned down offers by smaller Division 1-AA and Division II programs to walk on one of New York’s most recognized football schools, Hofstra University. At the time, Hofstra was known for turning out numerous NFL football players– especially at the wide receiver position, but that was not his reasoning.

 

Hofstra also had an accredited Speech Communications and Performance program and as a witty young man with admirations of watching himself on television, Ellis saw an opportunity for a special education. The under-sized but super-confident young man from Brooklyn took on the task of earning a scholarship knowing that Hofstra had just finished rebuilding its receiving corps by adding 3 D1-A transfers and 2 big-named incoming freshmen.   Long story short, Ellis earned a scholarship by the beginning of his freshman season.

 

Four years, 176 receptions, 2,207 yards and 22 TD’s and numerous school records later, Devale was once again one of the most highlighted receivers in school history and one of the top receivers at the division 1-AA level. But just like high school days, his lack of size kept NFL scouts away.

 

Ellis was content with his prolific athletic career and ready to begin his transition into entertainment. But once again determined to show his worth, he accepted the invitation to be a free agent tryout player for Detroit Lions after graduating from Hofstra with a degree in Speech Communications, Rhetorical Studies and Performance.

 

A long shot—to even get enough practice reps to show his talent, Ellis beat the odds at rookie mini-camp and left with a one-year contract. But signing the contract was bitter-sweet. Detroit had spent the previous three first round draft picks on highly touted wide receivers and a large part of its off season bringing in veterans at the same position to groom their young receiving corps.

 

Labeled a “Camp Body” by most and a “Practice Squad Player” by those who did believe in him, Ellis was once again determined to defy the odds. Long story short, he earned a spot on the opening day roster, played in 9 games and started 2–making his first career start and reception against the home team, NY Jets.

 

The undersized receiver spent his second season on the PUP list—not  playing in any games after a season-ending knee injury. Ellis stayed a fan favorite with his comedic antics at numerous charity events, and wowed the Detroit fans with his Michael Jackson impersonations after big catches during open practices.

 

Ellis played 3 years in the NFL and used every open opportunity to work on his craft as an entertainer. Coaches ranted and raved about his ridiculous work ethic but also couldn’t help but notice that every time the camera was in the locker room it ended up at his locker. He was a regular on Roy Williams’ weekly pre-game show and showed off his personality with his dance moves. Hosting his own segment called “Do you have a TD Dance?”

 

Upon deciding to retire from football after a short stint with the Cleveland Browns in 2009, Ellis spent the better part of 2010 planning his wedding to his college sweetheart Khadeen Joseph then quickly reached out to a former colleague at Hofstra, Jared Greenburg at MSG Varsity.

 

Having no experience as a broadcaster did not discourage Ellis from accepting his first gig as a high school football sports analyst. He was brought on to cover a few games and this was all the opportunity he needed to charm his way into being a permanent fixture at the station. Upon request from numerous producers and already established TV personalities at the station, Ellis was summoned to appear on different shows. Often times, footage of Ellis taken during downtime was used for on air purposes as comic relief in different shows.

 

In September, 2010 Ellis started the football season as a part-time analyst for games only but finished the season 3 months later with his own segment on the football wrap up show. Once again, he had used his wit, charm and New York savvy to work his way into the spotlight. After his first season was complete at MSG Varsity Ellis focused strictly on building his resume and his ability.

 

After meetings with numerous agencies and mentors in the industry Ellis began to freelance and quickly put together a rather impressive resume. In the next 12 months he was able to book the role of Caesar Lee in Pat Holly’s concert series Me and Caesar Lee, 3 national commercial spots including (KFC, AT&T, and Time Warner) and his first supporting role as Tommy in the indie feature film Full Circle. Ellis was able to accomplish all this while becoming the full time in-studio football analyst for MSG Varsity in the NYC region.

 

He is currently looking to expand on his opportunities in TV/Film and working to better himself in his craft the same way he worked to play amongst football’s elite in the National Football League.