PersonalDanny Trevathan is an American football linebacker now with the Denver Broncos. He was named an All-American by College Football News in 2010 as well as first team all-Southeastern Conference. Following the 2010 season, Trevathan completed the 2011 NFL Draft evaluation process but chose to return to Kentucky for his final season.
Trevathan was born in Youngstown, Ohio to Vincent Hicks and Michelle Hicks. His father played college football at the University of Toledo. He attended Leesburg High School in Leesburg, Florida.
Date of birth: March 24, 1990
Place of birth: Youngstown, Ohio
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
He has a major in family science.
Community Cats: Worked with children during a service trip to Ethiopia (2011).
Danny is an athletic linebacker who plays with speed and intensity. Danny was a three-year starter for Leesburg (Fla.) HS, helping the team go to the state playoffs all three seasons. He was third-team all-state, covering all classifications, by the Florida Sportswriters Association. He was named first-team All-Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel. He also was the Area Defensive Player of the Year for Lake and Sumter counties by the Sentinel. He was also the Area Defensive Player of the Year by the Leesburg Daily Commercial. His senior statistics included 117 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 5.5 quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown), and three caused fumbles. He played quarterback and running back on offense. He played in the Central Florida East-West All-Star Game following his senior season. He played for the winning West team, causing a fumble with a big hit and had a long return on another fumble to set up a touchdown.
He rushed 56 times for 427 yards, a 7.6-yard average, and three touchdowns and notched 98 tackles, including 17 for loss, along with five caused fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and six sacks as a junior. He was timed as fast as 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was an All-around athlete who was a member of the school's weightlifting, basketball, baseball and track teams. He ran the 100- and 200-meter dashes in track, along with the 4x100-meter relay.
CollegeBefore beginning his journey as a college athlete, Danny Trevathan's mother gave him three things to live by as he embarked on life as a Wildcat.
Trevathan’s mother told him to always keep God first, stay humble and no matter what he did, he had to make sure he did it better each time and better than those around him.
Those messages were delivered to Kentucky’s senior linebacker yet again after he received the harsh news via text from his parents that his name wasn’t on the list of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Trevathan, who leads the SEC with 111 tackles through nine games (he led the league with 144 last year), said there was a short moping period before he decided he could use this as fuel. Instead of throwing a pity party, he used the snub as motivation.
"It crushed me, to be honest, but it kind of made me get into the groove of things, grind it out a little more and push a little bit harder,” Trevathan said. "It made me want to prove to the world, prove to everybody, that I did deserve to be on it.
"I’m not a cocky person, but I think I deserved to be on the list at least. That’s every linebacker's dream, and not being on that list is just going to make me a better person and overall a better player."
Trevathan isn’t arrogant by any means, but he certainly has the right to be upset by being overlooked.
Outside of his triple-digit total tackle number, he has seven tackles for loss, including two sacks, four interceptions, has defended seven passes, and has forced three fumbles. In conference games, Trevathan averages 13.6 tackles per game.
In new defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s multiple defense, he is perfect for the Will linebacker position, but has the versatility to play at each of the linebacker spots.
With Trevathan’s vision, intelligence, speed, power and awareness, Minter said it was a no-brainer to have him quarterback the defense. Despite multiple sets taking form in the 4-2-5, 3-4 and 4-3 at times, learning every aspect of this defense is nothing short of complicated, but Trevathan has it down and has it down well.
For a player who entered the season with a sparkling résumé, Minter said it would have been easy for Trevathan to challenge new teaching and go his own way.
But he came right out during his first day with a new system ready to learn and improve. Now, finding things to improve in Trevathan’s game was and remains hard for Minter, but he sees a much better leader now than he did prior to the season starting.
"He’s an outstanding football player, to say the least," Minter said.
"He’s a team guy all the way."
Trevathan responded to his new coaching well and it’s paying off. While he might not be getting the respect he deserves nationally, he’s been a terror in the SEC this season. He’s the backside linebacker used to constantly disrupt running games. He primarily stays in the box, but has the speed to branch out if needed, and if he does, good things usually occur.
And he’s done it despite the sluggish season for the Wildcats.
Trevathan said it’s been a rough year, but he can see things turning around with a win over Vanderbilt, putting the Wildcats a win away from being bowl eligible. The season started poorly, but this team is starting to "get into the groove of things," Trevathan said.
"All good people, all great people have to go through something tough to get better," he said. "This year showed us that if we don’t play our game, we’re going to lose. Guys really know how hard it is and know they have to really work now. Guys have been through that now, so we know how hard it is to get to the top and we want to take it to the next level."
Speaking of the next level, Trevathan should find himself there soon. With his ability and his college career, there is no doubt in Minter’s mind that he’ll see Trevathan playing on Sundays next year and beyond.
Minter’s coaching experience dates back to the late 1970s, and he’s seen his fair share of good defenders, but Trevathan will go down as one of the greats and he doesn't need the Butkus Award to reinforce that.
"This is not the first good linebacker that I’ve seen," he said, "but he is as complete a linebacker as I’ve ever had the privilege to be around and coach."
His statistics are as follows:
2008 (Freshman): He saw action in all 13 games and was a mainstay on special teams. He totaled five tackles and blocked a kick against Georgia that set up a Wildcat touchdown.
2009 (Sophomore): He played in all 13 games, starting six and was named UK’s Most Improved Defensive Player as chosen by the coaches. He was the team’s second-leading tackler with 82 stops and made a career-high 14 tackles in the win at Auburn. He also hit double figures with 10 vs. Alabama. He recovered a Georgia fumble at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter of University of Kentucky’s upset of the Bulldogs. He notched eight tackles, one for loss, and caused a fumble vs. Clemson in the Music City Bowl.
2010 (Junior): He earned first-team All-America honors from CollegeFootballNews.com and was a first-team All-SEC choice by a number of national organizations, including the SEC coaches themselves.. He led the SEC in tackles with 144, an average of 11.1 tackles per game and averaged 11.5 tackles in SEC games. He was second in the SEC in fumbles caused with four. He also led UK with 16 tackles for loss and was third in the SEC in that category and tied for the team lead with three sacks. He had double-digit tackles in 10 games, including the last nine games and led UK in tackles in 10 games, including a career-high 17 tackles vs. Auburn. He was SEC Defensive Player of the Week in the season opener when he had 11 tackles and 3.5 for loss vs. Louisville.
New co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter has been impressed with what he’s seen of Trevathan since arriving in Lexington in 2010.
"He’s a natural inside linebacker because he sees things," Minter said.
"You have to have a natural sense because things are coming at you from all angles, guards are pulling in both directions, so many other things.
"Inside guys have to have that feel. Danny’s got that."
Trevathan’s generally low-key nature is a sharp contrast to his play on the field, where he’s a tireless ball of energy that seems to be around the ball on every play.
"On the field, he’s a crazy man flying around everywhere trying to bust somebody’s head open," said junior linebacker Ronnie Sneed, one of Trevathan’s closest friends on the team. "Off the field, though, he’s not a real loud guy or anything like that. He won’t stand out in a crowd. If you didn’t know it, you wouldn’t think you were a guy who made first-team All-American. He doesn’t look for attention. He just gets attention because he’s good at what he does."
Trevathan’s breakout season has led him to a crossroads: He’s considering skipping his final season and entering the NFL Draft.
Trevathan said he will go home to Florida after the BBVA Compass Bowl and make a decision. The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Jan. 15.
At times, Trevathan has seemed like the only playmaker on the University of Kentucky’s defense, so on paper his loss would seem like a crippling blow heading into the 2011 season. But Trevathan said he’s confident his teammates would hold down the fort in the event he does turn pro.
"If I leave, I don’t think I’ll be missed as much as a lot of people think," he said. "We’ve got a lot of good young players. It’s just like when Micah (Johnson) and Sam (Maxwell) left. The next guy steps in and gets a chance to show what he can do."
Minter said he’d love to have Trevathan back — "He makes me a better coach” — but understands the decision-making process. He’ll try to sell Trevathan on the opportunity to return to play in what Minter said will be more of a pro-style defense next fall.
"There’s something to be said about the college experience," Minter said. "Hopefully, the sweet taste in his mouth is maybe a sign of some things to come. The anticipation of doing something differently, we’ll have more of an NFL-style approach on defense next year, and maybe that can benefit him over the next 12 months and he can position himself a little higher next year.
"I’d love to have him back, but the ship sails regardless," Minter said. "We’re going to have a season next year, and there’ll be a ‘Will’ (weak-side) linebacker in there. We hope it’s number 22."
In 2011, while leading the SEC again in tackles through 9 games, Trevathan was not named a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, the top honor for college football linebackers. He was the starter at weakside linebacker his last season in games that University of Kentucky opened with a three-linebacker lineup. He showed his toughness by playing almost all of the season with a cast on his hand to protect a broken wrist bone. His chief asset is the outstanding speed he has for a linebacker. He has complemented his speed by adding another 15 pounds in the weight room. He has played in 26 games, starting six.
Danny Trevathan is without question the best defensive player that University of Kentucky has on the team. He plays the game faster than anyone else on UK’s defense and understands the game maybe better than any other player on the team this year. Coach Joker Phillips had it right today during the post game press conference when he said that Trevathan makes plays when they need to be made. Some players miss assignments and miss tackles, but Trevathan is a guy who will finish plays more times than not. His numbers have increased every year and he is not afraid to play injured. If he gets hurt he really does not want to tell anyone because he wants to remain in the game.
Looking at his stats you see right away that he is the defensive play maker for the University of Kentucky’s football team. There have been seven games so far where he has had double digit tackles, 11 at Louisville, 15 at Ole Miss, 17 against Auburn, 11 against South Carolina, 11 against Georgia, 16 against Mississippi State and 13 against Charleston Southern.
Danny Trevathan turned in the "strongest linebacker performance" for the 2011 college football season, according to a scientific evaluation by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA).
In a letter notifying Trevathan of the award, CFPA Executive Director Bradley Smith wrote:
"The goal of the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. CFPA recognizes weekly, annual, and multi-season (career) award recipients – selected based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams.
"After an extensive review of the existing data, literature, and evidence, it was determined that you finished the 2011 season with the strongest linebacker performance in D-I FBS college football. As a result, your performance satisfies the strict criteria CFPA established for recognition.
"On behalf of everyone at CFPA -- Assistant Director Harold A. Smith, M.D., Academic Review Chair Paul Studtmann, Ph.D., Associate Director Kyle Mauk, M.D, and academic review associates, including former Science Advisor to President Obama, Lawrence Krauss, Ph.D., please accept our sincerest congratulations."
The CFPA will present Trevathan with a crystal trophy to signify the achievement.
"Congratulations to Danny Trevathan, recipient of the 2011 CFPA Linebacker Trophy," Smith said. "Trevathan earned the honor with his superlative on-field performance, notably in tackling and creating turnovers against strong opponents."
Trevathan’s accomplishments during the 2011 season included:
143 total tackles, ranking fifth in the nation and leading the SEC in tackles for the second-consecutive season
Five fumbles forced, leading the nation’s linebackers in that category
Four pass interceptions, second in the nation among linebackers
In addition, Trevathan had 11.5 tackles for loss, three quarterback sacks, five pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and five fumbles forced.
Trevathan, a senior from Leesburg, Fla., ends his UK career ranked 10th all-time on Kentucky’s career tackle list with a total of 374 stops. Trevathan had a total of 20 games with double-figure tackles in his career, including a career-high 17 tackles in 2010 against Auburn, the eventual national champion, and also against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia.
Trevathan also has had to fight his way through tough times to get where is today. He is a very humble person that would never say he is better than anyone or that his struggles were harder than others. The one thing he will tell you is that he is very thankful for what he has. He says he and his family is a praying family and they will make it through anything by relying on their prayers. In an interview he talked about not having nice silverware growing up and said that he used sporks. Alan Cutler who was asking the questions kind of laughed and asked what a spork was, Trevathan smiled and said, "you know, like a fork and a spoon". Listening to Trevathan talk you get the sense very quickly that he will overcome any adversity that is thrown at him.
College and pro athletes often use Twitter and Facebook to vent, but University of Kentucky football player Danny Trevathan has taken a different approach.
Trevathan said he typically keeps his thoughts and feelings to himself, but his Twitter and Facebook pages are full of inspirational and motivational quotes, religious passages and constant references to his parents, Vincent and Michelle Hicks.
"I’m just trying to be a little more outgoing and share a little bit of me," Trevathan said. "I try not to say negative things. There’s a lot of negative things around here. I try not to be one of those people. I was raised around a good family, a praying family, so I just try and take some of the positivity around me and pass it to other people."
Trevathan also uses the social network to squash any conclusions people might draw when they see his dreadlocks and gold-plated bottom set of teeth.
"A lot of people don’t know who I am," he said. "In other words, people sometimes are quick to judge other people. A lot of people might see me, and they probably say something negative. It’s stereotyping. But I don’t hate people. I just go along with it until they get to know me."
Trevathan has shown what he’s all about on the field. He’s having a first-team All-Southeastern Conference type of season. He’s leading the league in tackles (97) and ranks sixth in tackles for loss (101/2). Trevathan is somewhat small for a linebacker (listed at 6-foot-1, 232 pounds), but he flies around the field, sheds blocks with relative ease and always seems to be around the ball.
University of Kentucky Football player Danny Trevathan "The energy and aggression he plays with really stands out,” UK linebackers coach Chuck Smith said. "Any coach or any fan who watches the game realizes, ‘Hey, this cat’s a good player.’ He’s smart, explosive and can get a quick jump on the ball. Once he gets locked in, he’s locked in. He’s like one of those smart missiles. He just takes off."
Even his teammates feel Trevathan’s power at times. Defensive end Mark Crawford, a 300-plus-pounder, recalled a collision he had with Trevathan in the South Carolina game.
"I’m running to the ball, he nudges into me, and I go flying five yards," he said. "I could only imagine what the running backs and fullbacks and the rest of them feel like."
The problem for the University of Kentucky Football teams defense is that at times, it seems as if Trevathan is the only out there flying to the ball and making plays.
Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips has challenged Trevathan to be more of a vocal leader with hopes that his energy will rub off on those around him, although Phillips noted, "Not a lot of guys can run like him for the position; we want them to play with his fire and desire, though."
Trevathan said it’s important for him to live up to the high standards set by recent UK linebackers: Wesley Woodyard and Braxton Kelley, who came before him, and Micah Johnson and Sam Maxwell, who helped groom him.
Trevathan has often been compared to Woodyard, now with the NFL’s Denver Broncos. But he doesn’t have Woodyard’s personality.
"Wes was a guy that was in everybody’s face, challenging them to perform," Phillips said. "That’s not Danny. He leads by the way he plays. He’s got a lot of respect here with the way he plays and the fact that he’s been around here a long time. When he speaks, those guys have got to listen with the way he performs and shows up. I’d like to see that out of Danny."
Trevathan said he wants to give advice and correct players but he doesn’t want to upset people.
"I tell them," Trevathan said. "But I try not to come at people wrong because they’ll come right back at you wrong, and we don’t need that. … They’re grown men. But there’s a lot of people that want to do it by themselves but might need a little push along the way, and that’s what I’m trying to help them with."
He’s taken a personal interest in trying to lift up junior middle linebacker Ronnie Sneed, one of his closest friends on the team. Sneed had perhaps his best game of the season in University of Kentucky’s 24-17 loss to Mississippi State with five tackles, a half tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. Trevathan said he doesn’t pay too much attention to his tackle totals despite racking up double digits almost every week. He did notice Sneed’s stat line, though.
"That’s my boy," Trevathan said of Sneed. "I congratulated him after the game. He’s picking it up. He’s a tough guy just like me, but he’s a guy that just likes to do his job. I’m trying to get him to take that other step, and he made a lot of plays last game."
- All-America first team by CollegeFootballNews.com (2010)
- All-America fourth team by Phil Steele's College Football (2010)
- All-SEC first team by SEC coaches, Associated Press, Phil Steele's College Football, CollegeFootballNews.com (2010)
- All-SEC second team by Rivals.com (2010)
- SEC Defensive Player of the Week for the Louisville game (2010)
- UK Most Improved Defensive Player by UK coaches (2009)
Trevathan has been compared to current Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard who is also out of Kentucky. Trevathan could make an immediate impact on special teams before moving his way into a rotating lineup.
Here is an interview with Kyle Tucker from Wildcat Blue Nation which is Fansided’s University of Kentucky website. Tucker gives as great insight into the player the Broncos got.
Question: Trevathan will likely see some time on special teams initially. How long do you think it will take him to work his way into the lineup, perhaps as a third down specialist?
Answer: Trevathan should be an immediate contributor on special team’s and should be in consideration for playing time in the nickel packages quickly as well. While everyone has pegged Trevathan as a 4-3 WLB, it’s important to remember that he was playing ILB this past season in UK’s version of the 3-4 defense. He managed to tally up all of those tackles in the SEC behind defensive ends that averaged 260ish pounds, which is very small for the scheme. Trevathan is a versatile player that can and likely will have a quick impact on the Broncos roster.
Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis (28) breaks for a first down run between Kentucky's Danny Trevathan (22) and Winston Guy (21) during the first half of the BBVA Compass Bowl NCAA college football game on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Question: What were his strengths and weaknesses at Kentucky?
Answer: Trevathan’s biggest strengths are his athleticism, solid fundamentals, and ability to find the ball. Don’t let his slower forty times fool you either. He’s been nursing some injuries since the seasons end and people are making a mistake if they think the 4.8 times he ran are accurate. The staff experimented with Trevathan returning kicks during spring practices twice, so you know he’s explosive. I would bet he runs in the 4.5 range when fully healthy. He has been one of the most consistent players in the SEC as well and one of the top tacklers in his three years starting on defense.
On the negatives, Trevathan isn’t a typical 3-4 linebacker and your defensive linemen are going to need to keep the opposing O-Line off of him. He does play much bigger than he actually is though. Also, Trevathan has a lengthy list of injury issues. He played through almost all of them and spent the better part of two seasons with his hand in a cast. It does make his tackling numbers even more impressive when you consider that he achieved them one handed! But again, being a slight linebacker for the 3-4 does leave him open to further injury.
Question: He’s been touted for his leadership abilities much like fellow Kentucky alum and current Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Do you see other similarities between the two?
Answer: It’s funny how similar Woodyard and Trevathan’s results are, yet how differently they get to them. Woodyard was always more of a safety trapped in a linebacker’s body that was smooth in coverage and devastating when rushing the passer. Trevathan was a true linebacker trapped in a safety’s body (until he bulked up this past year), and he is a much nastier player. He will take on anyone. Other than that, Woodyard was always a much more vocal leader and endeared himself to Kentucky fans with his personality. Trevathan is much quieter and is a lead-by-example kind of guy that would rather go bust someone in the mouth than give a rah-rah speech. They actually should compliment each other well.
Question: Anything else you think we should know about Trevathan?
Answer: Trevathan is a very good guy and hard worker. He may look tough at first, with the dreads and tattoos, but he is the first guy to pick up a kid for pictures on fan day and he never got in any type of trouble at all while at UK. Denver got a real steal so late in the draft and there is no doubt he’ll be a player for you guys. I really think you got one good on in DT.
Every so often, you find interesting glimpses into a player’s personality from their media guide biography. That is the case with linebacker Danny Trevathan.
His biography in Kentucky’s media guide — and on its website — says he can’t live without two things: his family and "haters."
It’s the cliched "chip on the shoulder," and rarely is this a detriment in the NFL.
"They motivate me," Trevathan said. "That’s always going to be in the back of my mind. You have to pay attention to yourself and strive for excellence. In this world they are looking for you to fail."
Perhaps the "haters" include those who wrote the draft critiques of Trevathan. At 6-feet and 237 pounds he was considered too small, too likely to get engulfed in traffic in the box. With 18 bench-press repetitions at the Combine, he was considered too weak. With a 40 time of 4.70 seconds, he was considered too slow for his size. Although he averaged over 11 tackles a game the last two years, many came from behind.
Some of the same criticisms existed for another Kentucky linebacker four years ago. And as we know now, Wesley Woodyard was a diamond in the rough, going from an undrafted free agent to a key contributor in the Broncos’ nickel defense and their special-teams captain three years running.
"I think our football characteristics are similar," Trevathan said. "I strive [to be] like him."
Look for Trevathan to be placed on a similar trajectory; the Broncos will try to nudge him onto their special-teams units this year.
Broncos sixth-round pick Danny Trevathan always wants to stay humble.
Trevathan was regarded as one of the toughest hitters in the Southeastern Conference, which, of course, is saying something.
He made his presence felt all over the field for the Wildcats, notching 143 tackles as a senior with three sacks and eight tackles for losses. That followed up a junior season in which he had 144 stops, including 14 for losses.
Trevathan said he played more at weakside linebacker at Kentucky, with some work at middle linebacker. It doesn't matter where he plays in Denver.
"I'm just looking to get in a rotation," he said during a teleconference with media covering the Broncos.
Trevathan said he is looking forward to learning from Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard, another Kentucky alumnus.
"I never got to play with Wesley," Trevathan said. "But I think our football styles are similar. I strive to be a leader like him."
Measurables: Ran 4.82 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day workout in early March, but had suffered a hamstring injury during the 40 at the scouting combine the previous week He had a 31 ½-inch vertical jump and a 9-4 broad jump.
Honors: Was named to several all-American teams in 2010 and 2011 Was a first-team All-SEC pick in '11 Finished his career ranked 10th in school history in tackles and had 20 games with at least 10 tackles.
Upside: A highly-productive player who performed at a high level in the toughest football conference in the land. He plays with toughness and quality instincts. He finds the ball and makes the plays.
Question marks: Did not run nearly as well as many other linebackers on the board. Broncos obviously choosing on-field production and intensity over the workout numbers.
Danny is a player I personally think could be the biggest surprise from this draft and I hope to see him contribute in a big way during the preseason games. I will follow Trevathan’s career with interest ~ Aussie.
Danny Trevathan.com, Max Denver, ESPN, UK Athletics, DP.com